Ever bite into something sweet, sour, or cold and feel a sharp, shooting, pain? A pain that seems to start in your mouth but like a bolt of lightning, quickly travels through all the nerves in your head in no time flat?
This sensation is the result of tooth sensitivity and it can range from mildly uncomfortable to nearly excruciating.
Most often, tooth sensitivity occurs when the protective enamel that covers your teeth begins to disintegrate or is damaged. However, teeth can also become sensitive with they are cracked, broken, or chipped or when there is a cavity present.
No matter the cause of tooth sensitivity, it can create much more pain than some realize. If you suffer from tooth sensitivity a lot – or even every now and then – you know it’s no fun at all.
So how can you deal with tooth sensitivity? These tips should help…
Look at your toothpaste first.
There is no shortage these days of mega-whitening toothpastes. Nearly every brand has varying levels of those that promise to help your pearly whites get whiter. Yet, sometimes this luminescence comes at a cost. Some of those that produce the greatest results can end of stripping your enamel just a tiny bit every time you use them. After all, that’s how they are able to “work” at whitening the teeth so well. On the other hand, as they remove this stained enamel, they leave your tooth just a little more unprotected.
For some people, this is not a big deal. For others, it can be the root of tooth sensitivity. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity and are using a heavy-duty toothpaste, the first thing you should try is changing for a while. Yet, you don’t have to sacrifice your whitening completely. Now, the big names all have a whitening toothpaste specifically for sensitive teeth. Sure, the results might not be as dramatic. But you might not be in pain either!
Get a good dental checkup and oral exam.
If you know your toothpaste is not to blame and/or you switch to a sensitive toothpaste and still have issues, it’s time to get a checkup from your local dentist. You need to be sure you don’t have any looming or active cavities, cracks, chips, or other dental problem that could become a dental emergency down the road.
Brush a little easier.
Many people think that brushing harder and more vigorously equals brushing “better”. This is not necessarily the case. If you are brushing too hard, you are likely brushing into your gum area from time to time. This exposes the root of the tooth. It is in this area that another tooth protective substance – cementum – is formed. Cementum is easier to damage than enamel and once it’s gone, it makes the tooth very susceptible to sensitivity from pressure, food, and drink.
“Baby” your teeth.
Once all potential causes of sensitive teeth have been checked out, it may be time to baby your teeth for a while. This includes staying away from – or cutting back on – sweets and/or sugary drinks. Likewise, lay off the acidic drinks – such as red wine or juices – that can fairly easily erode enamel.
Beat the grind…
Sometimes, tooth sensitivity is caused by grinding the teeth during sleep or times of stress. Are you a grinder? You – or your dentist – can often tell by just visually looking at your teeth. If you are, you can start with an over the counter dental guard. If you are a slight grinder, that may be all you need. However, if you have a serious tooth grinding problem, you probably need a professional tooth guard that your dentist can provide.
Take it to the limit…
If all else fails, go back to your dentist and ask about professional protective treatments. He or she can possibly treat your teeth with an enamel protector via a fluoride varnish. Similarly, a plastic resin can be added to the surface of really sensitive teeth. These options are temporary and do wear off in a few months but the temporary relief can feel like heaven if you’ve been dealing with tooth sensitivity for a while.
The important thing to remember about tooth sensitivity is you don’t have to suffer. There are so many potential treatments that you are bound to find one that works for you if you put in a little effort and don’t give up. If you are in our area and are experiencing tooth sensitivity, please make an appointment to come see us. We’d love to help you get the relief you deserve!