Are you the type of person that suffers from tooth sensitivity? Does it happen constantly? Is it occasional? Do you cringe at the thought of eating ice cream on a certain side of your mouth? Tooth sensitivity bothers many people and there are a few causes that are most often the culprit. We’ll cover a few common ones here and tell you how to reduce the discomfort.
Teeth have a hard outer layer called enamel. In fact, enamel is the hardest material in your body. Even though it is harder than your skeletal bone, like bone it is also porous. When the enamel is weakened or thinned these pores are more easily affected by sugars or changes in temperature that lead to pressure within the tooth. This pressure is what causes the sensitivity. So how is the enamel weakened?
1) Tooth Grinding: Know as bruxism, this is a constant attack on the biting surface of the tooth, often happening while you sleep. Your dentist can easily tell if this is happening by looking at wear patterns in the teeth. How Do We Fix This? In most cases a simple Night Guard will do the trick. This hard surface worn like a mouth guard will stop wear on teeth and often helps with TMJ issues in the right cases.
2) Toothbrush wear: This one may fall under the category of “too much of a good thing”. Tooth brushing should never be a forceful sawing motion. This leads to gum recession that reveals softer parts of the tooth, resulting in the exposure of more tooth pores. If this activity continues you’ll actually begin to wear wedges into your teeth, leading to greater sensitivity risk and even problems with cavities.
3) Whitening: Whitening causes sensitivity in a different way. Rather than damaging the tooth, the peroxides penetrate into the pores and can lead to a temporary discomfort. Whitening is safe, but I recommend the use of fluoride rinses and anti-sensitivity toothpaste (Like Sensodyne®) for 1 week before and 1 week after whitening to help reduce these symptoms – Especially if you have a history of sensitivity.
4) Cavities that have gone unchecked and have gotten deep enough to bother the nerve will also cause sensitivity. This may be a critical situation that requires a filling, crown and/or root canal therapy. The dentists at CrossKeys Dental always recommend regular checkups and x-rays to help catch cavities when they are small and are not causing pain.
Overall, sensitivity can be reduced, or even alleviated with anti-sensitivity toothpaste. You dentist can also apply desensitizing agents or provide fillings to tooth structure that is exposed by gum recession. Fluoride treatments will also help immensely by helping to strengthen weakened enamel, and fill and block pores in the teeth that are causing all of these issues.
Tooth sensitivity can be pretty uncomfortable. Visit the team at CrossKeys Dental to help determine if you can find the help you need at Wegmans, or if you have bigger issues that require treatment in our office.
CrossKeys Dental is located at 110 CrossKeys Office Park in Fairport. Dr. DuPre՛ and Dr. Badali provide comprehensive family dentistry and are always welcoming new patients. Visit us at www.CrossKeysDentalFairport.com for more information.
© 2017 CrossKeys Dental in Fairport, NY by Vince Badali, DDS