Tooth sensitivity is a frequent dental problem that affects people of all ages. It is a problem that causes discomfort and pain when teeth come in contact with particular temperatures and certain substances. Your dentist should be able to suggest proper treatment and give you appropriate advice on what to avoid to minimize the symptoms of this condition.
The condition is characterized by sharp and sudden pain, which is often temporary and can go away on its own. Although it seems like a big problem, there are a few successful ways to minimize the symptoms. Read on to find out about possible causes and treatment options.
Sensitive Tooth Causes
As we already mentioned, there is no particular age group that is affected by the condition of sensitive teeth, anyone can suffer from it. If you have sensitive teeth, you’ll notice that when you eat cold, hot, acidic or sweet food you feel sharp and sudden pain that disappears quickly. This can also happen when you expose your teeth to cold air or when you brush or floss your teeth.
When your teeth are healthy, the enamel protects the layer of dentin underneath. Since dentin is much softer than enamel it can cause discomfort if exposed to external factors. When the enamel wears out, dentin, that is connected to the tooth nerve, becomes exposed causing you pain and sensitivity. Likewise, the tooth root is protected by gums that can start receding due to gum disease or gingivitis. Apart from gum recession, gingivitis, and brushing too hard, other things that can contribute to sensitive teeth are:
- Cracked teeth – Cracked teeth can become filled with food and drinks causing bacteria and plaque build-up. Severe cases may lead to inflammation, abscess, and infection.
- Teeth clenching and grinding – This can cause the enamel to wear down more quickly.
- Dental procedures – Your teeth may become sensitive after certain dental procedures including root planing, professional cleaning and whitening, crown replacement, and other procedures carried out to restore your teeth. Normally, the pain goes away after four to six weeks.
- Acidic food – Acidic food can affect enamel reduction.
- Plaque build-up
- Long-term use of mouthwash – some of the mouthwash types available on the market contain a lot of acids which can lead to enamel wearing out. This causes the dentin to be exposed to external factors causing teeth sensitivity.
Tooth Sensitivity After Dental Procedures
Certain dental procedures may cause tooth sensitivity that generally disappears after a few weeks. These procedures include tooth fillings and whitening treatments.
- Tooth Fillings and Tooth Sensitivity
With tooth fillings, pain and sensitivity may appear after a filling is placed or replaced.
Tooth decay in itself causes discomfort and sensitivity, and the filling procedure only contributes to it, in some cases making it worse. Tooth sensitivity caused by fillings can last up to a few weeks or a few months, but as long as it is gradually reducing, there is no need to worry.
If you, however, feel constant pain and your teeth are extremely sensitive even after months, you might want to visit your dentist for a detailed checkup and treatment.
In some cases, a tooth filling is placed too high which can also cause sensitive and painful teeth as well as cause problems with biting. This can be resolved with a simple bite adjustment procedure and should solve the problem.
- Whitening Treatments and Tooth Sensitivity
All the teeth whitening treatments use products that contain strong chemicals that affect more than they should. Although these chemicals can remove food and drink stains from your teeth, they can also take off the very important layer of enamel due to their strength and acidity. There is still no permanent solution for tooth pain and sensitivity after a whitening treatment, but several studies have given some interesting solutions.
Some recommend taking codeine/acetomeniphin before the procedure to reduce the pain, but this wasn’t a successful solution and is not used anymore. Besides this, other options include applying a desensitizing gel before the whitening treatment or irradiating the teeth with a red laser. These two options have proven to reduce tooth pain and sensitivity to a great extent. Another good option is to work on improving the products used for whitening the teeth and make them less acidic and harmful to your teeth.
Tooth Pain Remedies
Although tooth sensitivity doesn’t really go away for good, there are various remedies you can try and reduce the pain and sensitivity. You should consult a specialist in the field, perhaps someone from the office of Dr. Angela Berkovich, and inform yourself about the best treatment options in your particular case. They will be able to find the cause of your tooth sensitivity and provide you with an adequate solution.
There is no sensitive teeth remedy that works for everyone, but here are some things you can try at home and reduce some of the sensitive teeth symptoms:
- Using a soft-bristled brush can reduce painful and sensitive teeth.
- Avoiding acidic and sugary food and drinks can also reduce the symptoms.
- Using a fluoride mouthwash regularly.
- Avoiding teeth clenching and grinding by obtaining a mouthguard.
- Using a desensitizing toothpaste – There are a few desensitizing toothpaste types available on the market for sensitive teeth. You can try a few of them until you find the one that suits you best or you can consult your dentist and ask for a recommendation. Whatever toothpaste you opt for, make sure it contains fluoride. You can apply some of this paste on the sensitive teeth before going to bed.
In addition to home remedies, there are a few dental procedures that can help with reducing tooth sensitivity. The American Dental Association recommends the following:
- Bonding, inlays, and crowns.
- Using fluoride gel and varnish.
- Placing a surgical gum graft that will protect the root of the tooth.
- Finally, a root canal if nothing else works.
Although tooth sensitivity is not a problem that can completely go away with treatments and remedies, there are ways to reduce it. The best you could do is to work on preventing this condition and take good care of your dental hygiene.
If, however, you have severe problems with your teeth, you should visit your dentist regularly and make sure to do your best to follow their instructions. Don’t wait too long before you make an appointment with your dentist and have a detailed examination.