Ever taken a bite of ice cream and felt an intense, sharp pain in your tooth? Or perhaps brushed your teeth too vigorously and noticed an uncomfortable tingling sensation? This type of discomfort is known as tooth sensitivity, and it’s caused by exposed dentin on the surface of the tooth.
For the uninitiated, dentin is a layer beneath the enamel, which protects the inner layers of the tooth. When this dentin becomes exposed, it can lead to sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures or pressure. Fortunately, there are a few treatment options for tooth sensitivity. Here are some of them:
Use Fluoride-Containing Toothpaste and Mouthwashes
One treatment for tooth sensitivity is to use fluoride-containing toothpaste and mouthwash. These products contain compounds such as strontium chloride and potassium nitrate, which have been found to reduce sensitivity by blocking nerve pathways in the teeth. Fluoride also helps to strengthen enamel and protect against further irritation.
For best results, these products should be used at least twice daily – after breakfast and before bed – for a minimum of two weeks. It’s important to thoroughly brush all surfaces of the teeth, not just the sensitive areas. However, it’s worth noting that using soft-bristled toothbrushes as abrasive bristles can weaken tooth enamel and increase sensitivity.
Dental Bond or Sealant
Sometimes you may find that despite using fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash or even having a fluoride gel or varnish applied by your dentist, tooth sensitivity persists. In these cases, a dental bond or sealant may be the solution. A bonding or sealant is a thin layer of plastic put on the sensitive parts of the tooth, forming a protective barrier against hot and cold sensations. This treatment can be done quickly in one dental visit. And can last for several years before needing to be reapplied.
Undergo a Root Canal
In severe cases of tooth sensitivity, a root canal may be necessary to treat the underlying cause of the discomfort. This procedure involves removing the infected or damaged pulp of the tooth, cleaning and disinfecting the inside, and sealing it with a filling. By targeting the source of the sensitivity, a root canal can provide long-lasting relief.
At the end of the day, it’s worth noting that each case of tooth sensitivity is unique and it’s only after discussing a personalized treatment plan with a dentist that an individual can find the best solution.
That being said, there are several steps you can take to prevent your teeth from being sensitive in the first place:
- First, avoid sugary foods. This includes candies, sodas and sports drinks. These sugars contribute to the buildup of plaque on the teeth, leading to tooth decay and eventual sensitivity.
- Second, avoid highly acidic foods and drinks, such as citrus fruits and juices, and vinegar-based dressings as they can wear down the enamel and increase sensitivity.
- Third, maintain a good oral hygiene routine that includes brushing twice daily, flossing regularly, and using mouthwash. This can help remove plaque buildup and prevent gum disease.
- Finally, be sure to attend regular dental checkups, as your dentist can detect potential issues early on and recommend treatment options.
There you have it; we hope you’ll use this knowledge to protect yourself from tooth sensitivity and other dental-related issues.