Are you feeling sensitive pains in your teeth that make it difficult for you to enjoy your favorite foods? If so, you may be suffering from sensitive teeth. We have a few treatments available for sensitive teeth to help you find relief from the discomfort. We will cover various approaches to combating your dental sensitivity. But first, learn about how teeth become sensitive, so that you can address the root cause and prevent tooth damage.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
If you pass on hot or cold drinks because you know they will cause discomfort, you are likely suffering from tooth sensitivity. There are things that you do every day that you may not know leads to this uncomfortable condition.
The most common thing people do is brush their teeth too hard, and it causes their enamel, the hard protective layer on your teeth, to wear away. The enamel on your teeth is actually the hardest mineral in your body. We call this type of damage enamel abrasion. If anything rubs against your teeth for too long, the enamel will begin to slowly wear away.
Erosion is the other type of enamel damage. This occurs when certain acids in some foods and beverages affect your tooth enamel. Some of the foods you eat, including sodas, sticky candy, and high-sugar carbohydrates, can literally eat away at your enamel. The bad thing about your enamel wearing away is that it will not grow back.
Thirdly, teeth grinding and clenching are also a cause of enamel erosion that leads to sensitive teeth. The constant friction put on your teeth wears them down and chips away at the surface of the teeth. Bruxism can cause a lot of damage to your teeth, gums, and jaw.
Fourthly, if you periodically get teeth whitening treatments, teeth sensitivity is actually a common side effect. This is not a cause for alarm and will most likely go away with time following a professional teeth whitening treatment.
Lastly, gum disease and receding gums can lead to tooth sensitivity. The roots of the teeth can become exposed due to receding gums. The tooth roots do not have a protective layer of enamel to protect them like the crown of the teeth. Exposing these tooth roots can cause discomfort and sensitivity to hot or cold food/beverages.
Treatment for Sensitive Teeth
Sensitive teeth can be a source of discomfort, and can make it difficult to enjoy eating or drinking. Fortunately, there are dental treatments available at our office that can help alleviate the sensitivity. Some of these teeth sensitivity treatments include desensitizing toothpaste, fluoride treatment, dental sealants, and bonding agents. With the right treatment plan tailored to your individual needs, you can find relief from your painful teeth sensitivity quickly and effectively.
- Fluoridex®: For patients who come to our Plano, TX dentist office with sensitive teeth, we recommend Fluoridex®. Use this product in place of regular toothpaste for daily treatment and cleaning. Fluoridex® helps protect against painful sensitivity to cold, heat, sweets, acids, and contact.
- Desensitizing toothpaste: Specialized desensitizing toothpastes can block the tubules in the dentin from allowing fluid to flow through, reducing sensitivity.
- IBond: The application of a special bonding agent onto the exposed dentin can effectively block the tubes and help provide relief from sensitivity. Dr. Sowell can provide an IBond treatment at his Plano dental office.
- Fluoride Gel: The application of high-concentrated fluoride gel into the tubules of the dentin can help seal off exposed nerve endings, providing relief from sensitivity.
- Dental Bonding: Additionally, for more severe sensitivity, Dr. Sowell can provide a dental bonding treatment to the surface of your sensitive teeth. If a tooth is particularly sensitive due to exposed dentin, he can apply a composite resin material to restore function and impede pain.
- Root Canal: If decay infects and inflames the root of the tooth, a root canal procedure may be necessary to ultimately alleviate pain and sensitivity.
For patients with gum recession, root exposure, and sensitivity, we often recommend treatment with MI paste + aligners. This treatment is a nightly application that desensitizes and hardens the root to thermally protect it and resist decay. For extreme cases, Dr. Sowell can do a gum graft (a connective tissue graft) over the root eliminating the cause of the sensitivity. This will also protect the teeth from decay and further damage.