Many people suffer from sensitive teeth, causing them discomfort even as they do normal things like eating. If at one time you experienced discomfort or pain after taking a spoonful of boiling soup or taking ice cream, you are suffering from sensitive teeth. This is a common problem, which is known as dentin hypersensitivity, and can be treated by visiting a dentist. We at Encino Dentist will help treat your dental problems as well as guide you in protecting your teeth from developing more significant problems.
Overview of Dentin Hypersensitivity
Dentin hypersensitivity or tooth sensitivity is generally noticed when a person feels their teeth have painful sensations and discomfort. This happens especially when teeth come into contact with items of extreme temperatures such as cold or hot foods.
When you experience teeth sensitivity, the situation may be for a short time or a persistent one. Different people experience teeth sensitivity differently. For some, it may affect a single tooth, a few teeth, or every tooth in their mouth. There are various causes of sensitive teeth, as we shall discuss below, as well as how they can be avoided. The good news is that most sensitive teeth cases are treatable easily. Most people need to change their regimen in oral hygiene, and the problem is solved. Chronic conditions are also treatable but requires time and consistency.
Symptoms of Dentin Hypersensitivity
How can you tell if you have sensitive teeth? Your teeth will respond to various triggers. The triggers are what cause discomfort and pain, and if avoided, the teeth are normal. Some people report feeling the discomfort at the root of the sensitive tooth, while others are just at the crown. Some triggers that are common to many are:
Chewing acidic foods and drinking acidic beverages
Taking hot drinks and food
Taking cold stuff like ice cream or cold drinks
Coming into contact with chilled air
Rinsing your mouth with alcohol-based cleansers
When one uses floss or brush their teeth
Consumption of sweet things and beverages
When your teeth come into contact with cold water, even when you visit your dentist for routine cleaning
These symptoms may be erratic; they may not appear consistently. Additionally, they can be mild for some and extremely intense for others.
Causes of Dentin Hypersensitivity
Naturally, some people experience more sensitivity in their teeth than others. This is usually because their natural teeth have thinner enamel, while others have a thicker one. The outer layer that acts as a protector of teeth is called enamel. The enamel wears out because of various reasons. Some of these reasons are:
When a person uses so much force while brushing their teeth
When a person uses a hard-bristled toothbrush to clean their teeth
When a person likes to grind their teeth together
If a person regularly consumes acidic beverages and foods.
There are other conditions a person can be suffering from that can cause their teeth to be sensitive. If you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux, you are likely to suffer from tooth sensitivity. A person suffering from GERD has acid coming from the esophagus and stomach that wears your teeth down over time.
An individual suffering from conditions that result in vomiting more frequently can also suffer from sensitive teeth. When a person frequently vomits, the vomit comes with a lot of acidity from the stomach that wears down the tooth enamel. Some of these conditions are bulimia or gastroparesis.
Recede of gums can also cause of sensitivity on the teeth. The recession of the gums exposes certain parts of the teeth and leaves them unprotected. This makes teeth more sensitive to various triggers of sensitivity.
Other causes of the sensitivity of teeth are having chipped or broken teeth or decaying teeth. Additionally, if you have a filling that wears down or a crown starts to wear down, your tooth dentin is exposed, causing it to be more sensitive than usual. When this happens, sensitivity may be experienced on a single tooth that is affected as opposed to all the teeth.
If you have just come from visiting a dentist, you may experience some sensitivity, although it is temporary and dependent on the work that is done. If you had gone to get your teeth bleached, get a filling or a crown, you would undoubtedly experience sensitivity, but it will not last long. Similarly, the sensitivity in this situation is focused on the tooth or teeth that were worked on. The good news is that after a few days, the sensitivity will fade away.
Diagnosing Sensitive Teeth
If you are experiencing sensitivity for the first time, it is essential to visit your dentist. A dentist will be able to examine how healthy your teeth are and look for possible problems. Such problems will include cavities, recessed gums, or loose fillings that may be responsible for the sensitivity.
Similarly, when you visit your dentist for a routine cleaning, he or she can examine your teeth and conduct a visual examination. Using various dental instruments, your dentist can touch a tooth to determine if it is sensitive. If your teeth are sensitive and there is no apparent cause, your dentist may ask that you do a teeth X-ray to eliminate cavities as a cause.
Treating Teeth Sensitivity
If the sensations or the sensitivity you feel on your tooth or teeth are mild, one can buy dental treatments that are plenty in variety and sold over the counter. You can also opt to use toothpaste that is made ideally for sensitive teeth. Most of these kinds of toothpaste are made without ingredients that are irritating to the gums or teeth. They are also made with ingredients that desensitize the teeth. The ingredients also act as barriers for the discomfort to reach the nerves of the teeth.
With a mouth wash, pick an alcohol-free one. Mouthwashes that have alcohol are irritating and trigger sensitivity of the teeth.
Another critical thing to remember is the kind of toothbrush you choose. Avoid using toothbrushes that have hard bristles to brush your teeth. Hard bristles will poke at your gums and cause the enamel to wear down faster. Use softer toothbrushes and be gentle with your strokes. It is easy to identify soft toothbrushes by looking at their label and the description.
Even with the use of these remedies, healing does not happen overnight, but noticeable improvement can be experienced in a week. Most of these remedies are home treatments. However, should you not experience change, visiting your dentist becomes essential. Your dentist may prescribe specific brands of mouthwash and toothpaste that will be more effective. Additionally, your dentist may decide to apply desensitizing agents on your teeth, which are prescription grade from their office to speed up the process.
Fluoride gel is also another desensitizing agent that your dentist may use on your teeth. These types of gels are important in strengthening your teeth enamel as well as protecting them from sensitivity.
How to Treat Medical Conditions Responsible for Tooth Sensitivity
Maybe you are suffering from other underlying conditions that cause your teeth to be sensitive. Treating them is crucial to avoid the wearing down of your enamel and damaging teeth. A condition like GERD is treatable by the use of acid reducers. A person who has bulimia can also get psychiatric treatment for the same.
If your gums are receding, you can start brushing with a softer brush and gently. Improving oral hygiene is also essential. If the gum recession is severe, your dentist may recommend a gum graft. This involves harvesting palate tissues and putting them over the roots for their protection.
Grinding and clenching your teeth is something you can train yourself to stop. Be mindful of your habit and stop it when you realize you are doing it. Work on your stress levels and reduce your caffeine intake before going to bed. If all these recommendations don’t work, as you sleep, use a mouth guard to stop you from grinding your teeth.
General Outlook for Sensitive Teeth
When you start experiencing difficulties while you eat, you must discuss this immediately with your dentist for a solution. Apart from the over the counter treatment, your dentist can prescribe specific mouthwashes or kinds of toothpaste that can help you. Over-the-counter treatments are also recommended for mild cases of sensitivity.
In case you experience other symptoms like those of cavities or a possible damaged root, getting fast treatment is essential to avoid further complications. Some of these symptoms that you should always look out for are:
Experiencing sensitivity on a tooth that is localized on it or the area
Experiencing very sharp pains as opposed to milder ones
Sudden pain in the tooth that comes from nowhere and there is no apparent reason for it
Experiencing pain when you bite or chew things
Feeling a strain on your teeth surface
Find a Encino Dentist Near Me
Sensitive teeth can rob you of the joy of eating the meals you love. The discomfort and pain can sometimes be unbearable and prevent you from carrying on with your regular duties. Experiencing sensitivity in your teeth can be a sign of deeper underlying conditions that need urgent treatment. Visiting a dentist is always essential to eliminate any underlying conditions as well as enjoy your favorite meals and drinks. At Encino Dentist, we are committed to bringing back the comfort and confidence you once had in your teeth. Call us today at 818-650-0429, and let us bring your joy back in your mouth!