When teeth are sensitive, ordinary actions like taking a sip of your drink or a bite of your dinner can become pretty painful – sometimes without much warning. If the sensitivity persists for some time, eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth can become difficult chores that you must approach carefully in order to avoid pain. There are a number of things that can cause tooth sensitivity – decay, injury, infection, even worn tooth enamel. The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to just live with tooth sensitivity and learn to work around it. Take a look at these three things that you can do to relieve it.
Fluoride hardens your enamel and can help stop sensitivity.
The hard material that covers your teeth is called enamel. It protects the more fragile dentin that makes up a lower layer of the tooth. But enamel that is weakened or worn can leave lower levels of the tooth more exposed, resulting in tooth sensitivity.
Fluoride works to strengthen and harden tooth enamel. That’s why it’s added to oral hygiene products and water supplies. If your tooth enamel is particularly weak, causing sensitivity, your dentist may recommend additional fluoride treatments. These treatments can help bring strength to the enamel, relieving the sensitivity.
If your tooth sensitivity is caused by decay or infections, you may need a dental procedure of some kind to fix it. For example, you may need a filling or a crown – or an existing filling or crown may have failed and need to be replaced. If you have a tooth infection, your dentist can prescribe antibiotics to get rid of it.
Infections that affect your gums can cause gum disease, which can contribute to sensitivity by causing your gums to recede, exposing the tooth root. In that case, you may need to be treated for gum disease. Your oral surgeon can perform a gum graft, which will provide protection for the tooth root. In cases where the infection involves the tooth root and inner pulp, you may need a root canal to preserve the tooth and relieve sensitivity.
Dental Hygiene Changes
A new toothbrush or toothpaste can help relieve your tooth sensitivity.
If your teeth are healthy, but simply more sensitive than the average patient’s teeth, your dentist may recommend some changes to your dental hygiene routine. For example, you may want to try using a softer-bristled toothbrush, and adjusting your brushing technique so that you aren’t scrubbing your teeth as hard.
Your dentist may also recommend using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. These varieties of toothpaste contain potassium nitrate, an ingredient that desensitizes the nerves that are causing you pain. It will cut down on the pain you feel while brushing, and with repeated use, it will prevent you from feeling sensitivity while you eat or drink. For the most effective treatment of your tooth sensitivity, it’s important to know what’s causing the pain, and for that, you need to visit your dentist.