Do you find yourself dreading brushing or flossing because of pain? Does the thought of a hot drink on a cold day or a cold drink on a hot day cause you to wince? Does breathing the cold winter air cause you discomfort? If you answer yes to any of these, you may have sensitive teeth. Let’s look at what causes sensitive teeth, as well as possible solutions.
Some Causes of Sensitive Teeth
Every tooth consists of dentin, which is covered by enamel. When the enamel decays or is worn away, the dentin is exposed causing sensitivity and pain. Brushing with excessive force, using a hard brush, or grinding your teeth can weaken the enamel and expose dentin.
Naturally receding gums and gum disease can expose the roots, which are not covered in protective enamel, causing sensitivity and pain. A cracked tooth or filling may also expose roots, with the same results.
Excessive plaque buildup and acidic foods and drinks can also wear enamel. In addition, some whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes contain chemicals that may cause sensitivity in some users.
All Hope is Not Lost
It is important to realize that damage to enamel is irreversible, so you need to prevent or stop the damage. Use soft-bristled toothbrushes and avoid brushing too vigorously. Reduce or eliminate acidic foods and drinks from your diet. When that’s not possible, try to rinse your mouth with water and wait for at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.
You can make the remaining enamel stronger and lessen the sensitivity by using toothpastes that are specifically made for sensitive teeth.
For more serious issues, a crown may help. In severe cases, the best option may be a root canal. If a receding gum line is the cause, a gum graft or sealant procedures may correct the problem.
We’d Love to Help
If your sensitivity is extreme or persists despite taking the steps above, be sure to make an appointment for an evaluation. Ignoring the pain can only make things worse. You can love your teeth once again.