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Long Wharf Dental Group
1 Long Wharf Drive, Suite #221, New Haven, CT 06511

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Understanding Sensitive Teeth

Simple activities like eating or drinking items that are hot or cold can cause a great deal of pain for people who have sensitive teeth. The stinging sensation that occurs when the teeth and gums encounter extreme sensations can lead to the avoidance of consuming certain foods and beverages. Even brushing and flossing can become a problem. It can even lead to feeling pain when breathing in cold air. Luckily, sensitive teeth and gums are a condition that is relatively simple to treat.

The most effective way of treating this issue is to understand the cause behind the sensitivity. Once your dentist has determined what the primary cause is, he or she will be able to treat your symptoms and get rid of your pain. Once the root cause has been identified, you’ll find that you’ll be back to enjoying the things you used to enjoy before sensitive teeth took over your life.

The most common underlying cause of tooth sensitive is the breakdown of enamel on one or more teeth. This can happen due to tooth decay, gum disease, receded gums, cracked teeth and even brushing your teeth too hard. When enamel wears down far enough, it exposes the roots of a tooth, leaving the delicate nerves inside of your tooth sensitive to extreme sensations. This is what causes discomfort and pain.

The treatment option you choose to pursue will vary according to the underlying cause of your condition. Sensitivity caused by worn down enamel is typically treated via the use of desensitizing toothpastes and fluoride supplements. If your sensitivity is caused by receded gums, your dentist may decide to apply sealants to block irritants from hitting the sensitive spots on your teeth. When the dental pulp is affected, your dentist may recommend that you receive a root canal.

Why Tooth Sensitivity Occurs

  1. Brushing too aggressively and using a hard-bristled toothbrush erodes enamel and leads to tooth sensitivity. Use gentle motions and a soft-bristled toothbrush to keep sensitivity at bay.
  2. Acidic foods and drinks also wear down enamel. They can also cause pain to sensitive teeth. Stay away from items such as tomatoes, citrus fruits, pickles, and other acidic foods and beverages.
  3. Tooth grinding breaks down the enamel and makes the teeth more susceptible to sensitivity. A custom-fitted night guard, worn when you go to bed at night, can prevent further from damage from happening.
  4. Using any product with tooth-whitening ingredients in it can cause sensitive teeth to occur. Switch brands to see if that addresses your issue.
  5. Mouthwashes containing ingredients such as alcohol can also lead to sensitivity. Change over to a neutral mouthwash.
  6. Gum disease makes the teeth more sensitive because it often causes the gums to recede. This type of sensitivity is typically treated via dental sealants and gum inflammation treatments.
  7. Temporary sensitivity can sometimes occur after a procedure such as a tooth filling, tooth extraction or root canal has been performed. If your pain persists, talk to your dentist as soon as possible.
  8. A cracked or chipped tooth that is neglected will lead to sensitivity and pain. Broken teeth should be treated promptly.
  9. Tooth fillings can sometimes leak or crack, causing bacteria and acid to break down enamel. A new tooth filling will stop sensitivity in its tracks.

In rare instances, tooth sensitivity can be a symptom of a serious underlying problem. Your dentist will be able to determine what is causing your sensitive teeth and gums. You will most likely be given a treatment regimen of fluoride supplements and desensitizing toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.

The Types of Treatments Available for Sensitive Teeth

  • Have regular check-ups with your dentist in New Haven. This keeps your dental health on track.
  • Consistently stick to your oral health care routine.
  • Brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Try using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth and gums.
  • Choose a fluoride mouthwash.
  • Wear a mouth guard when sleeping to avoid grinding your teeth.
  • Stay away from acidic foods such as tomatoes, oranges and lemons.

Knowing exactly why your teeth and gums are sensitive will help your dentist determine how your sensitivity should be treated. If you grind your teeth at night, your dentist will have you fitted for a night guard. This device is worn while you sleep and prevents damage from occurring to your teeth.

Staying away from carbonated beverages, wine and acidic fruits can prevent sensitivity from occurring. All of the above items are able to wear down enamel. If you do choose to consume these things, drink water or milk shortly afterwards to combat the effect. Brushing your teeth too soon after having those items, however, can cause even more erosion to set in.

Helpful Tips for Handling Tooth and Gum Sensitivity

The best course of option is to always seek out a professional opinion. However, the following dental care tips can help you when it comes to your sensitive teeth and gums:

  1. Discover Desensitizing Toothpaste – There are many different specially designed toothpastes available for sensitive teeth. These toothpastes keep sensitivity from hitting your tooth. Many patients find that these toothpastes begin to start working after just a few uses.
  2. Ask About Fluoride – Having fluoride placed on sensitive areas of your teeth strengthens enamel.
  3. Find the Remedy at the Roots – A gum graft is a procedure where gum tissue is placed on an exposed root. This procedure is typically undergone when a patient has receded gums. It relieves and reduces pain.

You can easily prevent sensitive teeth and gums from becoming a problem by following excellent oral health care. The best way to do this is to see your dentist regularly, brush twice daily, use a soft-bristled toothbrush, brush gently and floss daily. If you already have sensitive teeth, it’s time to seek out care from a local dentist.

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Long Wharf Dental Group

1 Long Wharf Drive, Suite #221, New Haven, CT 06511

(203) 764-2386