Commonly referred to as tooth sensitivity, dentin hypersensitivity affects more than half the population. Tooth sensitivity can cause significant pain on teeth with thin enamel and on exposed tooth roots. The sensitivity and occurs when the protective enamel on our teeth wears down or when tooth roots are exposed due to gum recession. Tooth sensitivity can be a painful and frustrating condition to live with day after day, but there are products that can provide relief. At Value Dental Centers in Queen Creek, AZ, our dentists have many treatment options to relieve your pain.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
The enamel on your teeth may become worn down for a variety of reasons. If you brush too aggressively or use a toothbrush that is too hard, enamel can become thin. Highly acidic foods and drinks, such as soda, coffee, and citrus fruits and juices, can also wear down your enamel. Additionally, the acidic bile from acid reflux or vomiting (usually in bulimic or GERD patients) can also erode your enamel. Receding gums, typically due to advanced periodontal disease, will leave your tooth roots exposed, which can result in tooth sensitivity.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Sensitivity?
The most common symptom of tooth sensitivity is pain in the teeth when eating hot or cold foods, or when drinking hot or cold beverages. Inhaling cold air can also cause pain. You may notice pain in sensitive teeth when brushing or flossing. Some patients experience chronic sensitivity, while for others the sensitivity may come and go sporadically.
How is Tooth Sensitivity Diagnosed and Treated?
When you visit our office for tooth sensitivity, the dentist will discuss with you the pain you have been experiencing and ask questions about your eating and drinking habits. It is important to answer these questions truthfully so that the dentist can make a proper diagnosis and prescribe the correct treatment. Your teeth will be examined and x-rays and other tests may be taken to make an accurate diagnosis.
The dentist will likely make recommendations to treat the cause of your tooth sensitivity, such as reducing your intake of acidic foods or seeing your doctor for acid reflux medication, and may also prescribe or recommend switching toothpastes, toothbrushes, and other homecare products. Tooth sensitivity can be made worse by teeth whitening treatments, so the dentist may recommend you stop any whitening treatments. You may be prescribed a fluoride gel or rinse to reduce sensitivity. If your sensitivity is due to gum recession, periodontal treatment may be recommended.
How Can I Prevent Tooth Sensitivity?
Practicing proper oral hygiene is the most important and easiest way to prevent tooth sensitivity. If you are unsure on the proper technique for brushing and flossing your teeth, one of our skilled hygienists can show you so that you do not over-brush. It is also important to choose a nonabrasive toothpaste. Maintaining a diet low in sugar and acidic food and drinks can help prevent tooth sensitivity, and can also prevent cavities and other damage. Getting regular dental cleanings and exams can help prevent tooth sensitivity as well, and can also deter gum disease and other conditions so that you can maintain optimal oral health.
Tooth sensitivity can range from mild and sporadic discomfort to chronic pain. A thorough examination by one of our dentists at Value Dental Center Queen Creek will allow us to diagnose your tooth sensitivity so that we can recommend proper treatment to relieve your pain. If you are suffering from tooth sensitivity, contact our office today to make an appointment.