Ouch! Sensitive Teeth

If brushing, flossing, eating, and drinking causes discomfort or sharp, temporary pain in your teeth, you probably already know that you have sensitive teeth. This typically results from worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots. However, sometimes a cavity, cracked or chipped tooth, or a dental procedure (such as bleaching) side effect is to blame.
Triggers

  • 67% feel pain when eating cold food or drinking cold drinks
  • 35% sense discomfort when eating or drinking hot substances
  • 51% experience sensitivity when breathing in cold air
  • 47% have a painful twinge when eating sugary foods

Causes

Teeth can become sensitive even to the slightest touch if they are traumatized – much like being bruised. You could bite down on a popcorn kernel or seed and sensitivity from that single incident could last weeks or sometimes months. Teeth sometimes need time to recover from trauma.
When To See Your Dentist
While you can often self-treat generalized tooth sensitivity, see your dentist if:

  • Your teeth are persistently sensitive to pressure
  • A single tooth is persistently sensitive, which could indicate that its pulp is infected or dying
  • Sensitivity doesn’t decrease after two weeks of using desensitizing toothpaste
  • You have dental pain that lasts more than an hour
  • The gums around a sensitive tooth change color
  • You have any obvious decay

Diagnosis
A visit to your dentist can determine if there are underlying causes of your tooth pain. He or she may have to play detective to determine the source of discomfort.

Treatment

  • Desensitizing toothpaste: Blocks pain associated with sensitive teeth
  • Fluoride: Strengthens tooth enamel and reduces pain
  • Covering exposed root surfaces: Apply a sealant if gums are receding
  • Root canal: Severe pain that doesn’t respond to above treatments may require a root canal to treat the soft core (dental pulp)

Prevention

  • Brush teeth twice a day with soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Use fluoride toothpaste for sensitive teeth and/or a fluoride rinse
  • Floss daily
  • Avoid vigorous or harsh scrubbing, abrasive toothpaste, excessive brushing and flossing
  • Use a mouth guard if you grind your teeth to prevent fractures
  • Limit acidic foods and drinks (soda, citrus fruits, wine, yogurt, etc)
  • Use a straw when drinking acidic liquids (limit contact with teeth)
  • Drink water or milk to balance acid levels after drinking acidic substances
  • Avoid brushing teeth immediately after intake of acidic substances (acid softens enamel, making it more vulnerable to erosion)
  • Quit chewing tobacco, which causes gums to recede
  • Refrain from sucking on hard candy, which can cause enamel abrasion

If your tooth sensitivity has not responded to home remedies and care after several weeks or months, please call Dr. Arhiri at 610.647.7611 or email drarhiri@premiersmilespa.com today!

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