When you breathe in cold air, do your teeth ache? Similar to a “brain freeze” but a “tooth freeze”? Too many people suffer from sensitive teeth and don’t even realize that places like South Florida Dental Care have good solutions.
Tooth sensitivity is also known as dentin hypersensitivity or root sensitivity. It most often occurs when it’s cold outside, or you eat hot, cold, sweet, sour or acidic foods. In fact, it is estimated that 50% of the people have tooth sensitivity … they just don’t know there is a name for the problem. The pain can be sharp, sudden, and shoot deep into the nerve endings of your teeth.
The most common cause of tooth sensitivity is exposed dentin, the hardened tissue just beneath the tooth’s enamel that contains microscopic nerve fibers. Dentin can become exposed as a result of dental decay, food or toothbrush abrasion, or gum recession. Regardless of the cause, exposed nerves make the teeth sensitive.Unfortunately, receding gums are very common and in fact, 4/5 of people have them by the time they are 65.
What are other causes of tooth sensitivity?
• Brushing too hard. It is best to use a brush with soft or medium bristles unless we tell you otherwise.
• Tooth decay from the gum line arising from poor oral hygiene.
• Gingivitis causes your gums to be red, swollen and inflamed.
• Grinding or clenching your teeth wears down the enamel and exposes the underlying dentin.
• You are between 25 and 30 when tooth sensitivity seems to peak.
• Overuse or abuse of tooth whitening products.
• Plaque has built-up from missing your annual cleanings or not brushing properly.
• Long term use of some mouthwashes can cause tooth sensitivity. Some over-the-counter mouthwashes contain an acid that can make your teeth sensitive. If you have dentin sensitivity, ask us about the use of a neutral fluoride solution.
• Consumption of foods high in acid such as tomato, pickles, tea and citrus foods can lead to enamel erosion.
• Cracked teeth. If you are missing teeth or have cracked teeth, the root may be exposed.
• Root canal. If your sensitive teeth cause severe pain and other treatments aren’t effective, we may recommend a root canal — a procedure used to treat problems in the tooth’s soft core.
What Can You Do To Reduce Tooth Sensitivity?
If your teeth feel sensitive, please talk to us about it. We can recommend some products that can help. Additionally, here’s some tips to reduce your sensitivity:
• Use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Actually, by brushing your teeth lightly, the bristles are able to move more freely and do their job more effectively than when you press too hard.
• Use toothpaste indicated for sensitive teeth that should help reduce the pain. Use a fluoridated toothpaste not a tartar control.
• Be careful what you eat. Try to eat and drink highly acidic foods in moderation.When you drink acidic liquids, use a straw to limit contact with your teeth.
• Use a fluoridated mouthwash.
• If you grind or clench your teeth at night, talk to us about a mouth guard.
• Come see us for your annual cleaning (or more often if you have gum disease).
Other things we might try? Adding white fillings (bonding), fluoride varnishes or dentin sealers to cover your exposed root surfaces.
Teeth become sensitive for many reasons – anywhere from trauma to dental disease. With our expert dental staff at South Florida Dental Care, we’ll get to the root of the problem – literally! If you are at all anxious about coming to see us, ask about our conscious sedation dentistry that will put you totally at ease. Call us at 954-966-6410 today for your annual examination and more.
About The Author
Dr. Jeffrey Pass, DDS, has been in private practice since 1987 and emphasizes cosmetic, restorative, and implant dentistry. A graduate of NYU College of Dentistry, Dr. Pass practiced privately in Manhattan, NY prior to establishing South Florida Dental Care in 1993. He regularly attends continuing education classes and is a member of the American Dental Association, South Florida District Dental Association, South Broward Dental Society, and the Florida branch of The Seattle Study Club.