What is Tooth Sensitivity and How Do You Treat It?
Tooth sensitivity is a dental issue that can cause you to pass up on the things you love. It makes everyday activities such as brushing, eating and drinking something to endure rather than enjoy. Brushing may not be an exciting task, but bypassing ice cream in the summer, or hot soup in the winter isn’t much fun.
What is Tooth Sensitivity?
The name says it all. Tooth sensitivity causes your tooth or multiple teeth to become extra sensitive to certain foods and drinks or touch. When the teeth come into contact with these substances pain and discomfort occurs. This pain and discomfort in some cases that are not severe may subside quickly, but in other cases, pain may persist.
In the dental community, tooth sensitivity is known as dentin hypersensitivity or root sensitivity. It is a common complaint that dentists attend to regularly. Dr. Stout, a practitioner at Stout Family Dentistry in Charlotte, NC, treats adult patients and pediatric dentistry patients for this condition.
Severe vs Minor Cases
If tooth sensitivity occurs and resolves on its own then you may not have a severe case. Whether or not your case is or is not severe at this time, without treatment it can progressively get worse. Exposed dentin sensitivity can also be a sign of other more serious problems or conditions. Some of these conditions include, enamel erosion, chipped or cracked teeth, tooth decay, cavities (dental caries) or even pregnancy.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
Moderate to severe tooth enamel loss is arguably the chief cause of a sensitive tooth. When this is not checked teeth begin to deteriorate to the point where nerve endings in your tooth become exposed. It is this contact with the nerves that make the tooth more sensitive to whatever conditions you expose it to.
Common causes of enamel loss or erosion are:
- Consumption of acidic foods and drinks like citrus fruits or sugary drinks.
- Teeth grinding during the day or at night while sleeping.
- Brushing your teeth too hard or not brushing enough which leads to cavities as a result of tooth decay.
- Excessive teeth whitening or bleaching which can compromise the enamel layer.
Receding gums can also put you at risk of tooth sensitivity. The roots of your teeth can often become exposed as your gum recession occurs. Since the gum line recession can contribute to nerve exposure, you will lack enamel protection. Once nerves are exposed you feel pain when taking something hot, cold or sweet.
Receding gums are a common complaint among older people, particularly those older than 40. They are said to occur in about four of every five persons by the age of 65.
Treatment of Tooth Sensitivity
Stop by our practice, a Charlotte, NC dentist office, to speak to Dr. Stout if you are experiencing tooth sensitivity. He or she is in a better position to advise on treatment. You may be provided with recommendations on how to treat the problem at home.
- Treatment for sensitive teeth will often include a change of toothpaste for brushing. Many dentists recommend desensitizing toothpaste for patients. As the name suggests, this kind makes your tooth less sensitive. It also comes with fluoride for better protection.
- Your dentist may also opt for a brush-on fluoride gel or toothpaste with high fluoride content.
- If the sensitive tooth is beyond what you can treat at home, in-office treatments may be necessary. These include the application of sealants, plastic resins or fluoride varnishes.
- Fillings may be required for covering exposed areas if parts of the tooth lost is large. If you have a cracked tooth, it might have to be pulled if fillings cannot remedy it.
- Dentist Office Treatment Options
Deep tooth cleaning in order to remove plaque, also known as planing, can help deal with gum disease by getting rid of tartar and plaque. In advanced cases, surgery may not be avoidable for correcting the problem.
Gum graft and root canal are also among treatment options for tooth sensitivity.
Proper dental care improves oral health because good oral hygiene can help prevent sensitive teeth. Brush your teeth twice and floss at least once daily. Don’t brush your teeth too hard or you can opt for an extra-soft toothbrush.
Our Eastover Dental Practice
is conveniently located in Charlotte NC.
If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in this article it may be time to see Dr. Stout. Schedule an appointment with Stout Dentistry. Give us a call today at 704.332.7737.