Sensitive teeth can cause you to refuse a bowl of ice cream, drink lukewarm coffee and soup, and even order your iced tea with no ice. Toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth can help, but you might not fully understand how or why. Here’s what you should know about this surprisingly common problem and easy fix.
Dentin hypersensitivity is the medical name for sensitive teeth. The soft material that forms the inner part of the tooth, dentin is packed with nerve endings. However, it is normally protected by the hard enamel that makes up the tooth’s surface.
When the enamel is missing or worn away, everything you eat or drink can reach the dentin. Both cold and hot temperatures can irritate the nerves inside, creating an intense, but thankfully short-lived, pain. Dentin hypersensitivity is the tendency to experience this nerve irritation on a regular basis.
A leaking filling, gum disease, a cracked tooth, or advanced tooth decay are among the most likely causes of dentin hypersensitivity. However, it can also be brought on by eating a diet high in acidic foods, brushing with whitening toothpaste, or brushing too hard with a hard-bristled toothbrush.
In some cases, temporary or long-lasting dentin hypersensitivity can be brought on by a dental procedure. In the days following a procedure, switch to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth and avoid very cold or hot beverages and foods. If the hypersensitivity persists for more than a few days, let your dentist know.
Choosing a Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth
Toothpaste for sensitive teeth contains ingredients that block the exposed nerve endings, dramatically reducing dentin hypersensitivity regardless of its cause. Make sure the toothpaste you select is high in fluoride, which will further strengthen your teeth. For best results use the toothpaste for at least one month.
When to See the Dentist
Dentin hypersensitivity is not considered “normal,” so it should be evaluated by your dentist if it lasts for more than several days. In most cases, your dentist will be able to identify and treat the root cause, thus eliminating the symptom.
For some people, though, there is not a specific cause. Some people’s teeth are just sensitive, like some people’s skin. In this case, your dentist will help you manage the condition. You might receive prescription toothpaste or mouth rinse, or ongoing fluoride applications. You might also be given specific oral care instructions. Since the goal is decreasing the sensitivity, your treatment plan may be refined over time as you and your dentist discover what works for you.
Sensitive teeth are a widespread problem. Most cases are managed by identifying and treating the underlying problem, but in some cases, no underlying cause is found. Either way, your dentist will work hard to help you manage this frustrating issue. In the meantime, switch to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth immediately, and you should notice a significant improvement within several days.
Conveniently located in Woodbury, MN, Creekview Dental provides a progressive yet conservative approach to dental care. Our innovative, highly personalized procedures are focused on maintaining tooth structure and providing you with the healthy, beautiful smile you deserve. Call us today at 651-738-8204 to take the first steps on the road to better dental health.