One in a lifetime you have experienced discomfort after a bite of ice cream or a spoon of hot soup. Believe it or not, but you are not alone. Pain caused by cold or hot foods is normally associated with a tooth cavity. However, this type of pain is also common among people who have sensitive teeth.
Tooth sensitivity refers to a discomfort in the teeth as a response to hot or cold temperatures. Tooth sensitivity can also be chronic. It can affect one tooth as well as all teeth. In most cases, sensitive teeth can be managed by a change in oral hygiene routine. This article depicts the main things that every person should remember about tooth sensitivity.
Symptoms of tooth sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity can be triggered by certain factors including:
- Hot foods and drinks
- Cold foods and drinks
- Cold air
- Sweet foods and drinks
- Acidic foods and drinks
- Cold water during daily routine cleanings
- Flossing or brushing teeth
- Alcohol-based mouth rinses
It might be also the case that you will notice your symptoms come and go with an apparent reason. Tooth pain caused by a sensitive tooth can be mild and intense.
Causes of tooth sensitivity
Some people naturally have more sensitive teeth than others. This is generally because of thinner enamel, which is an outer layer of the tooth that is aimed to protect it. You can worn down your tooth enamel from:
- Flossing and brushing your teeth too hard
- Using a hard toothbrush
- Regular intake of acidic foods and drinks
- Grinding your teeth at night
There are also other causes of tooth sensitivity and gastroesophageal reflux is one of them. This condition can lead to acid coming up from the stomach and esophagus, wearing down teeth over time. Bulimia and gastroparesis can also cause acid to wear down your enamel. Furthermore, tooth sensitivity can also result from gum recession, which tends to leave sections of the tooth exposed and unprotected.
Other causes of tooth sensitivity that leave the dentin of the tooth exposed are tooth decay, chipped teeth and broken teeth. If the cause of your tooth being sensitive is one of the aforementioned, you are more likely to experience sensitivity in one particular tooth or area in the mouth, instead of the majority of teeth.
It is also worth mentioning that your teeth can become sensitive following dental procedures such as getting crowns, teeth bleaching or fillings. In this case, you will experience sensitivity of the tooth that received dental work. This sensitivity will disappear within a few days after the dental procedure.
Diagnosis of sensitive teeth
If you notice the first symptoms of tooth sensitivity and you have never experienced it before, you should make an appointment with your dentist. he/she will perform a thorough examination of your teeth and identify potential causes of tooth sensitivity such as cavities, recessed gums or loose fillings.
These actions are also performed during your routine dental cleanings. As part of the teeth examination process, your dentist will make use of dental instruments for the purpose of detecting sensitivity. Another option available is ordering X-ray on your teeth to rule out causes like cavities.
Treatment methods for sensitive tooth
Over-the-counter dental treatments can be effective for mild tooth sensitivity. You should choose toothpaste that is specifically produced for sensitive teeth. These toothpastes do not contain any irritating ingredients but they have desensitizing ingredients that can limit the discomfort from travelling to the nerve of the tooth.
You should not forget to purchase an alcohol-free mouth rinse as it is less irritating to sensitive teeth. Another option for fighting tooth sensitivity is using softer toothbrushes and brushing more gently. You can expect to observe improvements within a week. In case home methods do not work, your dentist can prescribe you a special toothpaste and mouthwash. Another available option is applying fluoride gel or prescription-grade desensitizing agents in-office.
These will assist in strengthening your enamel as well as protect your teeth. If you have underlying health conditions that can cause tooth sensitivity, you need to treat them before they cause damage to enamel and your teeth. You can manage receding gums by brushing your teeth more gently and practicing proper oral hygiene. Although, top rated dentists advise using a gum craft in severe cases of gum recession. This is a type of dental procedure that involves taking issues from the palate and placing it over the root for the purpose of tooth protection.
Another option available for you is to stop grinding or clenching your teeth during the whole day. You can prevent yourself from grinding your teeth at night if you reduce stress and caffeine intake before going to bed.
The bottom line
If your tooth sensitivity causes significant problems, you should make an appointment with your dentist and find the solution to the problem. In addition to that, there are numerous toothpastes and mouthwashes that are made specifically for sensitive teeth.
If home remedies do not help, your dentist can prescribe you special mouthwash and toothpaste. You should keep in mind that if you experience symptoms of cavities or potential root damage, you have to seek immediate dental care to avoid any complications. Tooth sensitivity can limit your ability to enjoy your favorite foods and drinks. Thus, there is no need to wait until the point where you will not be able to eat any cold or hot foods/drinks.