There’s nothing more annoying or frustrating when a meal or a snack comprised of colder items is before you and you forget just how sensitive your teeth are. A conversation or train of thought is sharply interrupted as a brief, painful sensation sends a shockwave through your mouth that causes an involuntary and unattractive facial twitch.
As much as you may want to block that feeling out right now, hold on to it. Remember it. You should not have to constantly put up with this recurring dental experience. Let’s take a look at some easy first steps to getting future long-lasting relief from teeth sensitivity.
What is Teeth Sensitivity
Like an iceberg, your tooth has a visible portion that everyone sees and then a piece that is concealed within your gums. Both the hidden and visible pieces of your teeth have a protective layer that coats a softer and less dense area of your teeth called “dentin.”
The dentin contains very tiny channels in it that go back to the nerves in the tooth. When the dentin is exposed to the elements by a worn away protective layer on a tooth or a receding gum line, any fluids that touch it are easily influenced by hot and cold that will then get caught in the channels of the dentin and nick the tooth nerves, causing the sharp pain you experience.
Causes of Teeth Sensitivity
The protective layer of your teeth is quite resilient, however, it can only withstand so much mistreatment before it starts breaking down.
– Brushing too aggressively, or brushing your teeth in a sawing motion, will cause enamel around the gum-line to become too thin.
– A naturally receding gum line exposing the unprotected roots of your teeth – sometimes by plaque buildup – can lead to gum disease
– Overconsumption of acidic foods and drinks – also known as dental erosion.
– Teeth grinding or clenching that often takes place when one is nervous, anxious, or sleeping.
– Upon receiving dental procedures, the healing process could take up to six weeks before teeth sensitivity wears off.
Minimizing Teeth Sensitivity
Before we take a look at what our dental team at East Center Dental can do to desensitize your teeth, there are a few things you can do yourself to prevent nasty habits from starting to form in your oral hygiene:
Day to Day Lifestyle Practices
– Brushing your teeth with toothpaste whose active ingredients contain both potassium nitrate and sodium flouride, which will both calm your teeth’s nerves and strengthen them with more resistance to decay. You can find the active ingredients listed separately from the inactive ingredients on the back of the tube of your toothpaste.
– Try to brush your teeth at least twice a day – once before you go to bed and at some point in time during the day – and making sure you brush your teeth in small circular motions.
– Remember to replace your toothbrush either every two or three months or when the bristles become worn. As annoying as it can be to have to go to the store just to pick up a tooth brush, opt for the tooth brushes that come in packs. The softer the bristles are, the better it will be for your teeth.
– As tasty as a good salty snack and a refreshing soda or juice may sound throughout the day, limiting sugary foods and acidic or fizzy drinks to meals is a very rewarding habit to form.
The reason why you’re most likely reading this, however, is not that you are looking soley for preventative measures, but that you already have sensitive teeth and you’re wondering if you’ve doomed yourself for the rest of your life. Rest assured. Let us put your anxiety to rest.
The above methods are great to put into practice now, even with sensitive teeth. If you want to go even further though, you can also talk to our friendly dental team at East Center Dental about some other sensitive teeth treatment options:
– A surgical gum graft is useful in instances where the gum tissue at the tooth root level has been lost. Small amounts of gum tissue can be taken from other areas of your mouth to repair sensitive and vulnerable areas of the root.
– Success in reducing teeth sensitivity can occasionally be found through bonding. Instead of using a gum graft, a bonding resin is applied to the sensitive root surfaces.
– For teeth grinders and clenchers, our dentists can talk to you about wearing a mouth guard when going to sleep, because unconscious teeth grinding and clenching at night is quite common.
– Although, despite sounding quite intimidating to many, a root canal is one of the most dependable methods to eliminating tooth sensitivity. The soft tissue “dental pulp” in the center of the tooth that is infected is removed and then refilled and sealed all while saving the tooth.
Sensitive teeth are quite ubiquitous today, but there are responsible ways to mitigate their negative effects on your oral health. Today is a great moment to begin making choices that contribute to overall sensitive teeth care.
The sensations that flood your mouth, for however brief a time, when eating foods that trigger teeth sensitivity do not need to be endured forever. Enjoy your next meal, and share a bright, toothy smile with those around you.