What is a sensitive tooth?

Living with a sensitive tooth can feel like an absolute nightmare. Not many people realize the twinges of pain that can occur unless of course they’ve experienced the agony themselves.  This limiting condition however is luckily something that can be treated routinely by just about any dentist. Thankfully, no one needs to live with overly sensitive teeth.

Typically, sensitive teeth are caused by either dental decay, disease or some form of injury.  These are all pretty major conditions that warrant a dental check-up, because teeth have a habit of only becoming painful / uncomfortable when they really need immediate treatment. When your teeth become sensitive, it’s normally because the nerve has become agitated or there is a crack in the enamel / dentine layer that protects the dental nerve.

Unfortunately, there are a whole multitude of conditions that can account for a sensitive tooth. From advanced gum disease which can  perhaps be the worst to a minor chip which is easily fixable and relatively minor, generally speaking the most common reason that sensitive teeth happen is because of prolonged dental decay resulting in the degradation of the enamel layer on the outside of the teeth.

Sometimes however, the pain from a sensitive tooth might in fact be caused by a recent dental treatment such as tooth whitening or some other orthodontic procedure. Thankfully, when this happens your dentist should tell you beforehand and most importantly, the pain should only be temporary.

When this happens, the softer dentine tissue becomes exposed. Essentially, this outer layer contains many tiny nerve-like structures which are what causes much of the discomfort and sensitivity. When this happens, dentists can choose from a range of treatments ranging from fluoride which strengthens and protects the teeth again, to advising patients to use de-sensitizing toothpaste which acts to essentially ‘kill’ these outer nerve-like structures.

Sometimes, dentists perform a protective procedure by placing a coating over the grooves and fissures of the teeth. This dental sealant is like a plastic, that aims to not just help teeth stop feeling sensitive, but to ensure that your teeth are easier to care for due to the way that the sealant fills in the holes in the tooth that are so good at trapping food.

Many people think that sensitive teeth can be a problem that’ll soon go away, it’s ultimately one of the big warning signs that says you should visit a dentist as soon as possible. Dentists can and will examine the problem, looking at what the underlying condition might be. While all that might happen is you get a fluoride treatment to help eliminate the sensitivity, it could very well be that the dentist is able to spot the signs of disease before it gets too bad.

Today, there is a whole range of over the counter products that help eliminate the pain associated with a sensitive tooth. Softer tooth brushes, fluoride mouthwash and even over the counter fluoride treatments are all effective at trying to limit the effects of tooth sensitivity.

Sensitive Teeth

Having sensitive teeth doesn’t mean that you live a normal life it just means that you will need to make a few sacrifices and change a few things to make them work for you. The worst thing about having sensitive teeth is that you can’t enjoy those cold or hot beverages and snacks that you really like such as ice cream, drinks, soup, pizza and many other tasty treats.

The problem behind what causes sensitive teeth can vary so finding the problem may help to find the solution. It could be something as sensitive as a bruised tooth that is caused by biting too hard on your food or even from normal dental procedure (such as having them filled or cleaned). Habitual teeth grinding or clamping the jaws may also lead to sensitive teeth. It can also occur if you have a dead tooth pulp that will require a dental visit in order to repair it properly.

If you have dealt with sensitive teeth for an extended period of time then it may be time to contact your dentist so he can determine what is causing it and how to solve it. If your sensitive teeth are due to having enamel abrasion or a simple gum recession then it can be treated fairly quickly.

Good dental hygiene will help in preventing and fixing any sensitive teeth issues. Brushing your teeth at least 2 times per day with a soft toothbrush and flossing at least once a day will help with sensitive teeth. This will help to protect your enamel from breaking down which often causes sensitivity to foods that are too hot or too cold. It will also help to keep plaque away and prevent future cavities from happening.

If you’re sensitive teeth seem to be bothered by toothpaste you may want to switch to a desensitizing brand until you get it under control. If the dentist diagnoses you with widespread dental sensitivity which can be caused by gum line recession or enamel abrasion then they can put in fillings which usually can solve the problem with your sensitive teeth. The desensitizing toothpaste will help to fill up the tubules in the dentin which will help dramatically with your sensitive teeth.

There are special dental products that are made just for sensitive teeth to allow you to coat the areas around them before you eat or sleep to help ease the pain or sensitivity allowing you to eat and sleep properly. Once you have applied it make sure not to rinse your mouth at risk of washing away the application and not getting the relief that you need. Fluoride rinse may also help to reduce the sensitivity for those who suffer from sensitive teeth all the time. These solutions may not be the permanent one but at least they can help reduce the problem until you can see your dentist.

When you do get to your dental appointment be sure to give as much information about your sensitive teeth as possible because it will help your dentist to get a better understanding of what you are going through.

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