Teeth sensitivity is a common dental problem that affects millions of people of all ages. Pain or discomfort is usually noticed when consuming hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks. The pain experienced can “be sharp, sudden, and shoot deep into the nerve endings”, making daily activities like eating and drinking challenging. In this complete guide, we’ll explore the causes of teeth sensitivity, effective ways to manage it, and when it’s crucial to seek professional dental care from your local Lafayette family dentist.
What Can Cause Teeth Sensitivity?
- Brushing Too Hard:
- Aggressive brushing can create wear on your tooth enamel and expose the sensitive dentin layer, causing increased sensitivity. This can also “cause gum recession (when your gum tissue pulls away from your teeth).
- Gum Recession:
- Receding gums can expose the tooth roots. The roots do not have the protective enamel layer like the rest of your teeth, making them more susceptible to sensitivity.
- Gum Disease:
- Periodontal disease can cause gum inflammation and recession, leading to teeth increased sensitivity.
- Cracked Teeth:
- Cracks or fractures in teeth can expose the sensitive dentin layer. Pain will be experienced, especially when chewing or biting.
- Teeth Grinding:
- Habitual teeth grinding (bruxism) can wear down tooth enamel over time which will result in tooth sensitivity.
- Teeth Whitening Products:
- Some teeth whitening products, particularly those containing abrasive ingredients, can cause sensitivity. If you do notice more sensitivity when using these products, consider spacing out the usage to a tolerable level and use sensitive toothpaste.
Ways to Improve Sensitivity:
- Maintain Good Oral Health:
- Practicing proper oral hygiene can help prevent sensitivity. You will want to “continue to follow proper brushing and flossing techniques to thoroughly clean all parts of your teeth and mouth”.
- Desensitizing Toothpaste:
- Use toothpaste specifically created for sensitive teeth. These products contain ingredients to help reduce sensitivity over time.
- Use Soft-Bristled Toothbrush:
- Always choose a soft-bristled toothbrush and use a gentle brushing technique to minimize enamel wear and gum irritation.
- Fluoride Treatments:
- Fluoride can help to rebuild and strengthen tooth enamel. These treatments can be applied in-office or at home with fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash.
- Bonding to Sensitive Surfaces:
- For more advanced cases, dental bonding can be applied to cover exposed dentin surfaces, reducing sensitivity and improving aesthetics.
- Root Canal Treatment:
- If teeth sensitivity is being caused by pulp inflammation or infection, a root canal may be necessary to remove damaged tissue and cover the exposed roots causing the pain. Although it is only recommended in severe cases, “it’s considered the most successful technique for eliminating tooth sensitivity”.
When to See Your Dentist:
It’s important to see your dentist if you are experiencing persistent or severe teeth sensitivity. This may indicate underlying dental issues that require professional treatment. Additionally, seek dental care from your Lafayette dental office if you’re noticing signs of gum disease or if you have a cracked or chipped tooth. Your dentist can evaluate your situation, determine the cause of sensitivity, and recommend treatment options custom to your needs. Tooth sensitivity can also be caused by grinding or clinching your teeth. For people experiencing this, “you can ask your dentist about a mouth guard. Tooth grinding can fracture teeth and cause sensitivity.”
Teeth sensitivity can negatively affect your daily life, but with adequate care and a treatment plan from your Lafayette family dental practice, you will be able to quickly manage and relieve your symptoms. By understanding the causes of sensitivity and taking preventive measures, you can enjoy a pain free and comfortable smile. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any concerns or questions about teeth sensitivity—your Lafayette family dental practice is always here ready to help!