How to Eliminate Tooth Sensitivity
If the thought of eating ice cream, drinking a cup of hot coffee, or even brushing your teeth makes you cringe, you may be suffering from mild to moderate tooth sensitivity. We see this common occurrence in patients of all ages at our Alexandria, MN, dental practice. Research has proven that one in eight people experience some type of dental sensitivity (American Dental Association).
Sensitive teeth can be caused by several different factors, such as tooth decay, gum recession, gum disease, and even your genetics. To treat severe cases, Dr. Haack will address any decay in your teeth with fillings, dental bonding, or crowns. However, for most people, by just making a few changes to their daily oral hygiene routine, they can eliminate sensitivity.
If you have sensitive teeth or gums, call our Alexandria dental office at (320) 763-7484 today and schedule a consultation with Dr. Joseph Haack.
What Causes Dental Sensitivity?
Often, temperature and pressure cause tooth pain when the outer layer of the tooth, also known as the enamel, begins to weaken or erode and affect the deeper layers (dentin, cementum, central pulp). When the second layer, the dentin, becomes exposed, it triggers nerve endings in the center pulp. Sensitivity can also occur when roots become exposed along the gum line, due to gum recession or gum disease. Teeth roots are not covered by protective enamel, so they’re prone to sensitivity when exposed.
Remedies to Ease the Pain
Although sensitivity can be caused by tooth decay, having soft enamel can also be linked to your genetics and poor oral habits. By knowing how your enamel has weakened, you can better treat the root cause of sensitivity. Below are some remedies to help you have healthier, less painful dentition:
- See your dentist
The first step to relieving pain is scheduling a checkup and cleaning with Dr. Haack. He can determine whether your sensitivity is from any type of erosion as a result of tooth decay, infection, or disease. If he determines that you have a cavity, he will administer a filling, dental bonding, or dental crown. For gum disease, his hygienist will perform periodontal therapy. Habitually grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw (bruxism) can also weaken enamel. For such cases, the dentist will recommend wearing a customized night guard to help protect your teeth from further damage.
- Practice good oral hygiene techniques
Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a desensitizing toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. The harder the bristles, the tougher they are on your enamel and gums. When brushing, hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, brushing in a circular motion for at least two minutes. Avoid brushing too hard in a side-to-side motion. You may also benefit from using an electric toothbrush. After you have finished brushing your teeth, rinse with warm water, rather than hot or cold water.
- Watch what you eat and drink
Minimize your intake of acidic foods and beverages, such as coffee, wine, soda, and citrus fruits. The higher the acidity, the tougher it can be on your enamel. If you do enjoy these types of beverages, drink them with a straw to limit acid exposure to your teeth. After enjoying your favorite beverage, rinse with water to neutralize the pH levels in your mouth, then wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. Brushing too quickly after eating or drinking acidic foods can create even more sensitivity.
- Minimize at-home teeth whitening
At-home whitening kits found at your local pharmacy tend to have higher levels of peroxide, which can increase pain and tooth sensitivity. If you want to brighten your smile, ask us about having your teeth professionally whitened.
Contact Us Today
There’s no need to live with sensitive teeth any longer. At Joseph M. Haack, D.D.S. we can help you find the relief you’ve been waiting for. Give us a call our Alexandria dental office at (320) 763-7484 today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Haack.