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Drs. Grant and Conger
602 Main Street, Dalton, GA 30720

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Understanding Sensitive Teeth

If you have sensitive teeth, then you know how miserable they can be. You’re in pain when you try to eat, do your daily oral hygiene routine, or when you’re outside and cold air contacts your teeth. However, sensitive teeth can be easily remedied, and you can resume your outdoor activities and eating your favorite foods. Often, simple adjustments to your lifestyle habits can eliminate your tooth pain and enable you to enjoy life again.

Often, sensitive teeth develop due to erosion of the tooth enamel, which can be caused by several factors. Your tooth enamel can erode due to overly aggressive brushing habits, bruxism, chemicals, and acids in food. If you have cracks or chips in your teeth, then bacteria can enter and cause decay. If your gums have receded, then your tooth roots and nerves can be exposed and cause pain when you eat acidic foods or anything that’s high in sugar. If you have sensitive teeth, then your dentist can provide remedies that will alleviate your pain and eventually eliminate the cause of it.

Knowing the cause of your sensitive teeth will determine the best treatment protocol, so make an appointment with your dentist. If you have receding gums, your dentist may apply a sealant to block substances from reaching the tooth nerve. They may also recommend a gum graft if your receding gums are due to gum disease.

Fluoride supplements can strengthen your tooth enamel, as can topical fluoride applications. Desensitizing toothpaste can protect your nerve from aggravating substances, and within a short time, you should notice a significant improvement. Desensitizing toothpaste isn’t the same as toothpaste for sensitive teeth, so be sure you use the correct product. If none of these treatments effectively eliminate your sensitive teeth, your dentist may recommend a root canal and dental cap to eliminate the pain from your sensitive teeth.

Why Do I Have Sensitive Teeth?

Erosion of the tooth enamel is the most common cause of sensitive teeth, and it may be the result of the following:

  1. Acidic foods like citrus fruits and beverages, tomatoes, pickles, and iced coffee can cause significant pain to sensitive teeth. Avoidance is the best way to eliminate the pain, but if you consume acidic foods or beverages, be sure to rinse your mouth with plain water afterward.
  2. Bruxism, or tooth grinding, erodes the enamel on your teeth, and it can also cause chips and cracks that will allow bacteria to enter and start to decay. If you have bruxism, ask your dentist about a custom mouth guard that will protect your teeth at night. Don’t get one from your local pharmacy because it won’t fit well, it may be uncomfortable, and it may fall out.
  3. Cracked or chipped teeth can allow substances to reach your tooth nerves and cause you pain. Consult your dentist for a filling or cap that will restore functionality to your teeth.
  4. Recent dental procedures can make your teeth extra sensitive, but the discomfort should dissipate within a few days. If it doesn’t, then contact your dentist because you may have an infection.
  5. Aggressive brushing habits can damage your tooth enamel. If you’re using a firm-bristled toothbrush and a firm pressure, then change to a soft-bristled toothbrush and use gentle pressure when you brush.
  6. Tooth-whitening products can cause pain for sensitive teeth, so switch to tooth-whiteners for sensitive teeth, and make sure they contain fluoride, which will help strengthen your tooth enamel.
  7. Alcohol in your mouthwash can cause pain, so switch to a sensitive-teeth formula that contains fluoride. Don’t stop using mouthwash, though, because it should be an integral part of your daily oral hygiene regimen.
  8. Filling failure may appear as decay around an old filling, so if you notice this, make an appointment with your dentist without delay. When you promptly repair a failed filling, it will be a simple fix, but it can become much more complicated if you wait.
  9. Receding gums that are due to gum disease can expose your tooth nerve and cause pain. If you have gum disease, consult your dentist without delay. Otherwise, your gum disease can become periodontal disease and cause you to lose all your teeth.

Tooth sensitivity can result from underlying health issues, so it shouldn’t be ignored. Your Dalton dentist can determine the cause of your sensitive teeth and recommend steps to eliminate your tooth pain.

What Repairs Sensitive Teeth?

The best way to help your sensitive teeth is to make an appointment with your dentist. However, the following can also help:

  • Make sure you’re consistent with your oral hygiene routine, including regular dental checkups and cleanings. Annual checkups should be the minimum. Twice-yearly is better.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle pressure, so you don’t damage your tooth enamel.
  • Use toothpaste and mouthwash that are formulated for sensitive teeth. If they both contain fluoride, that will help to strengthen your tooth enamel and may reverse some damage.
  • Wear a nightguard if you have bruxism. This will protect your teeth from the damaging effects of tooth grinding.
  • Avoid acidic or icy foods and beverages such as lemons, oranges, orange juice, and tomatoes. If you eat acidic foods, then rinse your mouth well with plain water afterward, so the acid doesn’t remain on your teeth.

Although avoiding substances that cause tooth pain is certainly the best short-term option, determining the cause is the best long-term option. It will also enable you to resume the activities you enjoy, including eating your favorite foods.

Are There Dental Tips To Help Sensitive Teeth?

Sensitive teeth are easily treatable, and they’re also preventable. Talk to your dentist about the following tips:

  1. Ask about fluoride applications. Fluoride can be applied to specific areas of the teeth, over all the surfaces of the teeth, or as a sealant that will deter acids from reaching the tooth enamel and food particles from lodging between the teeth.
  2. Ask about desensitizing toothpaste that will protect the tooth roots and nerves so that irritating substances don’t reach them.
  3. Ask about a gum graft if your tooth sensitivity is due to receding gums. A graft will cover the nerves and should eliminate the pain.

Tooth sensitivity is painful and annoying, but it does not have to be a permanent condition. With a good oral hygiene regimen that includes regular dental checkups, and by working with your dentist, you can eliminate the source of your sensitive teeth. You will be able to enjoy life again free of tooth pain, and with proper hygiene and maintenance, your teeth should last for a lifetime.

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Drs. Grant and Conger

602 Main Street, Dalton, GA 30720

(706) 847-4165