Sensitive teeth can be an uncomfortable and frustrating dental issue, but they are also quite common. Understanding the causes, prevention and management of tooth sensitivity can help you maintain a healthy and pain-free smile.
Common causes of tooth sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity is typically characterized by a sharp, temporary pain when exposed to certain stimuli, like eating ice cream or drinking an ice-cold beverage. Some of the common causes include:
- Enamel erosion: Over time, the protective enamel on your teeth can wear down, exposing the sensitive dentin underneath. When hot or cold food and beverages touch your teeth, it can be shocking.
- Gum recession: Receding gums can leave the tooth’s roots exposed, making them especially sensitive to what you eat and drink.
- Tooth decay: Cavities can also cause sensitivity, particularly when they reach the inner layers of the tooth.
- Toothbrushing habits: Brushing too aggressively or using a hard-bristle toothbrush can lead to enamel wear and gum recession. This can make it more likely that you’ll experience pain when eating or drinking.
- Acidic foods and beverages: Consuming highly acidic foods and drinks can erode enamel and trigger sensitivity.
- Teeth grinding: Clenching or grinding your teeth, also known as bruxism, can wear down the enamel and expose the dentin.
How to prevent sensitive teeth
Preventing tooth sensitivity is key to maintaining oral health. Here’s what you can do:
- Use a soft-bristle toothbrush: Opt for a soft-bristle toothbrush and use gentle, circular motions when brushing your teeth to minimize enamel wear.
- Desensitizing toothpaste: Special toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth can help reduce discomfort.
- Regular dental check-ups: Visiting your Fioritto dentist regularly allows us to catch early signs of sensitivity and address the issue promptly. Make sure you tell your Fioritto care team when you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, and what triggers it.
- Balanced diet: Consume a diet rich in calcium and phosphorus to support enamel health.
- Mouthguards: If you grind your teeth, consider using a mouthguard to protect your enamel. Your Fioritto dentist can help you select the right mouthguard or get a custom fitted version to treat bruxism.
Managing tooth sensitivity
If you’re already experiencing tooth sensitivity, there are ways to manage it:
- Desensitizing toothpaste: As mentioned earlier, desensitizing toothpaste can help reduce sensitivity over time. Your Fioritto dentist may have some helpful recommendations.
- Fluoride treatments: Ask your Fioritto dentist about whether fluoride treatments might be appropriate to strengthen your enamel.
- Dental bonding: In some cases, dental bonding can be used to protect exposed roots or repair damaged enamel.
- Gum grafting: If gum recession is the issue, your dentist may suggest a gum graft to cover the exposed areas.
- Root canal treatment: In more serious cases, a root canal procedure may be necessary to treat underlying issues.
Sensitive teeth can be a discomforting condition, but with the right knowledge and care, it’s manageable. Regular dental check-ups are essential in preventing and managing tooth sensitivity. Your Fioritto dentist can identify the causes of sensitivity and provide the appropriate guidance and treatment options. Call today to schedule your next check-up.