Anyone who has tooth sensitivity can describe the pain and discomfort they feel in their teeth when they have eaten a very hot or cold food item. To date, 40 million adults suffer from sensitive teeth, and that’s only in the United States.
The pain comes on suddenly and feels very sharp, but thankfully it is temporary. Even better, sensitive teeth can be treated and your medical condition can get better.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity can happen to anyone, of any race, gender or age. It does not discriminate. In a mouth full of healthy teeth, enamel protects an underlying layer of dentin, which is softer than the hardened enamel.
In a healthy mouth, gums protect the tooth roots. But if the enamel is worn down, or if the gums have receded, then dentin is exposed. Dentin is connected to the nerve responsible for triggering pain in sensitive teeth.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
- Receding gums, which occurs when you have periodontal disease and the dentin is exposed
- Brushing too hard, which will wear down enamel, exposing dentin
- Sore and inflamed gum tissues can expose the tooth’s root
- The Buildup of Plague
- Clenching or grinding your teeth, which can wear down enamel
- Acidic foods encourage the reduction of enamel
- Getting a dental procedure: this may leave teeth sensitive, but the pain will disappear typically between four to six weeks
How to Treat Sensitive Teeth?
Unfortunately, sensitive teeth never completely go away. Symptoms can be lessened or even go away for a while, but you have to address the cause of teeth sensitive to completely eliminate the uncomfortable feeling.
There are several home remedies after you have been properly diagnosed with the cause of your teeth sensitivity.
If you’re more interested in lessening the pain now and getting a diagnosis later, consider:
- A toothbrush with soft bristles which will go easier on your teeth
- Use desensitizing toothpaste. There are a few brands to choose from. Ask your dentist for a recommendation, or try a different brand to find the toothpaste that most effectively addresses your tooth pain. Use fluoridated toothpaste on sensitive teeth, not tartar-control toothpaste. You can also spread a thin layer of desensitizing toothpaste on the tooth roots before you head to bed.
- Avoid the foods that are causing the sensitivity.
- Avoid teeth grinding and consider purchasing a mouth guard from the pharmacy.
- Use a fluoridated mouthwash every day.
These Dental Procedures may result in a decrease in tooth sensitivity:
- Fluoride gel or varnish
- Bonding, inlays, or crowns, which can fix a tooth or decay that might be causing your sensitivity.
- Protect the root of your tooth with a surgical gum graft to reduce sensitivity if the gum tissue has receded from the root.
- Root canal – not enjoyable, considered a last-resort for intense sensitivity that can’t be helped by other methods.
When All Else Fails:
If all else fails you might want to consider Fluoride treatments. There have been many studies about sensitive teeth lately, but just like any other dental procedure these come with pros and cons. The pro is that you remove the painful sensitivity from your mouth. The con is discussed below:
Although fluoride alone can’t prevent tooth erosion (which sometimes causes tooth sensitivity) or when combined with protective agents. Protective toothpaste that contains polyvalent metal ions, polymers and tetrafluoride might be more effective.
The FDA approved using silver diamine fluoride to treat tooth sensitivity in 2014. You can apply this treatment topically and it is used to prevent pain. This can be used for tooth sensitivity as well. As well as preventing pain, hardening tooth surface, and preventing more decay, it also protects the dentin from anything that might harm it.
To get this treatment, you have to go to the dentist. This will be applied twice a year. It it is applied over any decayed dentine, the fluoride will permanently leave a black spot on the teeth, something to consider. People suffering from silver allergies also should not use this treatment.
When it comes to sensitive teeth, we understand you want the pain to go away right now. And while there are home remedies to reduce your sensitivity, your best bet is to go to a dentist and peg down the cause of the sensitivity. Only then will it truly go away.