When you have sensitive teeth, certain activities, such as brushing, flossing, eating and
drinking, can cause sharp, temporary pain in your teeth. Sensitive teeth are typically the result of worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots. Sometimes, however, tooth discomfort is caused by other factors, such as a cavity, a cracked or chipped tooth, a recently placed filling or a side effect of other dental procedures, such as whitening which is usually temporary and will subside on it’s own.
If you’re concerned about sensitive teeth, start by visiting the Radiance Dental Hygiene Clinic. We can identify or rule out any underlying causes of your tooth pain. Depending on the circumstances, we may recommend the following:
Desensitizing toothpaste. After several applications, desensitizing toothpaste can sometimes help block pain associated with sensitive teeth if used correctly and as prescribed. Desensitizing Agent: In many cases, a clear or tooth coloured layer of a desensitizing agent may be applied to the exposed areas causing sensitivity to block the nerve receptors.
Fluoride. An application of fluoride to the sensitive areas of your teeth will strengthen tooth enamel and may reduce pain. We might also suggest the use of prescription fluoride at home.
Desensitizing or bonding. Occasionally, exposed root surfaces can be treated by applying bonding resin to the sensitive root surfaces.
Surgical gum graft. If your tooth root has lost gum tissue, a small amount of gum tissue can be taken from elsewhere in your mouth and attached to the affected site. This can protect exposed roots and reduce sensitivity. If this is the best treatment for you, a referral will be given.
Root canal. If your sensitive teeth cause severe pain and other treatments aren’t effective, your dentist might recommend a root canal — a procedure used to treat problems in the tooth’s soft core (dental pulp). A referral will be given if this is the best treatment for you.
To prevent sensitive teeth from recurring, we will offer suggestions to help you maintain your oral health. Twice a day, brush your teeth with a soft or extra soft bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily. Avoid vigorous or harsh scrubbing, highly abrasive toothpaste, and excessive brushing and flossing. If you grind your teeth, ask your us about a mouth guard. Tooth grinding can fracture teeth and cause sensitivity and loss of tooth structure.
You might also consider limiting acidic foods and drinks, such as carbonated drinks, citrus fruits, wine and yogurt — all of which can remove small amounts of tooth enamel over time. When you drink acidic liquids, use a straw to limit contact with your teeth. After eating or drinking an acidic substance, drink milk or water to balance the acid levels in your mouth.
It also helps to avoid brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking acidic substances, since acid softens enamel and makes it more vulnerable to erosion during brushing.