Sensitive teeth can be the result of dietary choices, decay, periodontal disease, or even genetics. The protection provided by enamel and gums decreases as enamel wears away and gums recede. Once the underlying surface (dentin) is exposed, sensitivity usually follows.
Discuss concerns with your dentist as soon as sensitive teeth become a nuisance. Let them know when you first noticed discomfort and what you were doing at the time. An oral exam which includes radiographs helps the dentist determine the underlying cause of sensitivity.
Common Causes of Sensitive Teeth
- Aggressive brushing and the resulting worn enamel
- Receding gums and exposed roots
- Enamel erosion due to diet
- Decay and damage to teeth and fillings leaving dentin exposed
- Nightly teeth grinding
- Recent dental treatment
Special toothpaste is available to help desensitize sensitive teeth. Most ADA recommended brands offer a sensitive version that helps protect the enamel and reduce pain within a couple of weeks. A fluoride treatment regimen is another option that can strengthen enamel and protect teeth nerves. If grinding is an issue, a special mouth guard can be worn at night. Dietary changes that eliminate acidic foods and drinks help protect enamel.
If you know your sensitivity is caused by more than just soft enamel, it is time to see the dentist. You may save yourself a lot of pain if the underlying problem can be fixed with a new filling. Even inlays, onlays, and crowns are relatively simple fixes that can stop sensitivity in its tracks. Sensitivity caused by gum disease may be treated with a deep cleaning which allows gums to protect teeth and roots properly. A gum graft may be necessary if gum damage is severe.
Tips for Coping with the Sensitivity
It makes sense to avoid certain acidic foods and drinks to prevent sensitivity. Acids in foods and drinks soften enamel, making it susceptible to wear. Soda and coffee, along with citrus juices should be avoided. Use a straw if you choose acidic drinks to avoid contact with the teeth. Citrus fruit and yogurt can also cause sensitivity, so eat sparingly. In what seems like opposition to most brushing advice, don’t do it right after a highly acidic meal or snack when enamel is softest. Drink a glass of milk to neutralize the acid and brush later.
Choose the softest bristled brush you can find. Brush twice a day softly with a non-abrasive toothpaste. Go with a sensitive toothpaste to help desensitize teeth and strengthen enamel. Make sure you floss at least once a day to keep the gum line and teeth clear of plaque.
Treat Tooth Sensitivity at Clayburn Dental in Abbotsford
Abbotsford, BC is home to one of the biggest and best family friendly dental clinics in Canada. Clayburn Dental is a full-service dental clinic with a team of dentists and specialists who are here to help you identify, rule out, and treat the causes of tooth pain and sensitivity. Give us a call at 604-582-8487or request your appointment online.