Archive for the ‘dentist’ Tag

Dental Bites: Tooth Sensitivity Part 2

Last time we discussed the anatomy of sensitive teeth and the various causes.  Now we will discuss what can be done to minimize or eliminate tooth sensitivity.  There are several at-home remedies that you can try, but before you start, be sure to discuss your concerns with your dentist first!

What YOU can do:

The first (and most important) thing you can do to reduce tooth sensitivity is to maintain good oral hygiene.  We already know that plaque buildup is a cause of tooth sensitivity, so be diligent to brush and floss your teeth daily to prevent plaque from building up.  Using a soft bristled brush when you clean your teeth will help minimize abrasion of the enamel and gums.

When brushing your teeth with that soft bristled brush, you could try using a desensitizing toothpaste.  You might need to try several different brands before you find one that works for you.  You can even apply a thin layer of fluoridated toothpaste to the root of the sensitive teeth if you are experiencing sensitivity caused by root exposure.  Doing this right before you go to bed will allow time for the tooth structure to absorb fluoride helping to reduce sensitivity.

Stay away from acidic foods!  Acid (specifically citric acid) is well known for dissolving tooth enamel over time.  Staying away from that morning grapefruit, avoiding lemons and lemonade and other sources of edible acids will help your teeth keep what enamel is still intact.  Once enamel is gone… it’s gone… leaving your dentin exposed to stimuli that trigger sensitivity reactions.

Grinding your teeth at night is a cause of tooth sensitivity as it wears away at the hard enamel layer and can also cause tiny cracks in the structure of the teeth.  If you find yourself waking up with sore jaw muscles and sensitive teeth from grinding, it would be a great idea to consider a night-guard.  This night-time use mouth-guard will protect your teeth from being exposed to the upwards of 120 pounds of biting and grinding pressure that the masseter muscle can generate.

And of course, see your dentist on a regular basis and keep an ongoing discussion regarding your tooth sensitivity.  There are tooth sensitivity solutions that only your dentist can prescribe and perform which leads us into our next section!

What Your DENTIST Can Do:

There are a few topical treatments that your dentist can recommend if it is appropriate for your situation.  Fluoride varnishes and dentin sealers can be applied to exposed root surfaces, giving another layer of protection between the tooth and the environment.

More permanent solutions comprise of composite bonding applications, fillings, root canals or crowns.  Composite bonding can be used to cover exposed root surfaces, or replace an area of decay that has let to tooth sensitivity.  If the tooth is cracked or there is a large amount of decay leading to tooth sensitivity, it might be necessary for a root canal and crown placement.  A root canal will deaden the nerve in the tooth leaving it unable to be affected by stimuli such as hot or cold.  The porcelain fused to metal crown will provide strength to the tooth while it protects it from further damage and stimuli that leads to sensitivity.

As you  discuss your sensitivity with your dentist, you will be able to develop a treatment plan that is ideal for your particular case.  Just remember to describe your discomfort as specifically as possible to help with your diagnosis and treatment!