Does the thought of biting into an ice cream cone send you shivering? When you sip that morning coffee do you notice a sharp pain? Or maybe all it takes is a wind chill to activate that familiar toothache. If so, you’re likely part of the 1 in 8 Americans experiencing tooth sensitivity.
So what is tooth sensitivity and how can I treat it?
Tooth sensitivity is a fairly common (and fairly painful) dental condition that occurs when your enamel or gum lining recedes, exposing the dentin in your teeth. Dentin is the inner layer of your tooth that provides pathways to your nerves. Nerves transmit pain signals to your brain, hence that sharp, tooth-gritting pain you feel when something hot or cold comes in contact with your compromised teeth. Let’s break down exactly what causes this erosion and what you can do to stop tooth sensitivity in its tracks.
What causes tooth sensitivity?
The wearing away of your enamel has several key causes and luckily, they’re all within your control to prevent. As a rule of thumb, it’s always best to speak to your dentist about what may be causing your tooth sensitivity.
Food & Drink
If you love coffee, juice, sugary sweets, or other foods with high levels of sugar and acidity, consuming them regularly may be contributing to your dental downfall. The biggest culprits are sugary sodas (sugar plus carbonation equals deterioration!) and sour chemicals that often contain harsh ingredients such as citric acid.
Over-brushing or Gum Disease
If you brush your teeth with an iron grip or simply brush more than three times per day, the excess friction on your gums and enamel is bound to wear them down.
On the flip side, you may have an underlying gum disease that’s causing your gums to weaken and thereby causing tooth sensitivity. You may also have a cavity or fractured tooth that’s causing the dentin exposure. Sometimes these issues really do start the root (no pun intended) so it’s always important to speak to your dentist in case there is something more serious at play regarding your oral health.
While brightening up your smile once in a blue moon may not cause increased tooth sensitivity, excessive exposure to harsh chemicals found in most teeth whitening products such as hydrogen peroxide can cause enamel softening. Speak with your dentist about your options to whiten your teeth without sensitivity.
Tips To Treat
Let’s start with the obvious. There are a few preventative measures you can take such as limiting your consumption of highly acidic foods such as coffee, soda, and citrus fruits, and cutting down on regular teeth whitening procedures.
If the root cause of your sensitivity is due to something like a cavity or physical opening in your tooth, a filling should help reduce sensitivity as it reduces the exposure to those nerves causing sensitivity issues. Depending on the severity of the crack, a crown or root canal may also be necessary.
You can also speak to your dentist about a desensitizing toothpaste or fluoride gel as these can be immensely helpful to patients with more superficial enamel wear.
Hopefully this helped you create a game plan to relieve your day-to-day discomfort. Because everybody should enjoy ice cream pain-free!
More questions on tooth sensitivity and what you can do to prevent it? Contact Sedki Dentistry today and happy brushing!
Sedki Dentistry provides the highest quality dental care in a safe and comfortable environment dedicated to meeting the dental needs of the entire family. Dr. Sedki uses the latest techniques and procedures in general and cosmetic dentistry to restore your smile including dental implants, dental veneers, invisible braces as well as children’s dentistry and orthodontics.
Call or Commerce Twp dental office today for a Free dental consult and see why our dental clinic is a top choice for you and your family!