Tooth sensitivity can be a frustrating and painful dental health problem. If you have sensitive teeth, you likely experience mild to severe pain when exposing your teeth to hot or cold foods and drinks, sweet or acidic foods and drinks, or to cold temperatures outside. At Azarko Dental Group, our Edmonton dentists see many patients who experience sensitive teeth, especially around the wintertime. If you're curious about the possible causes and solutions for sensitive teeth, then keep reading below.
Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
Teeth develop sensitivity problems when their sensitive dentin has been exposed. Dentin is full of nerve endings which will create an uncomfortable sensation due to certain triggers. There are three main reasons why dentin may become exposed.
- Worn enamel
Enamel is the protective outer layer of a tooth which protects the dentin underneath. It can become worn or damaged for a number of reasons, including brushing too hard, using a toothbrush with stiff bristles, and grinding your teeth (a condition known as bruxism).
- Tooth decay
Tooth decay occurs when the enamel over an area of a tooth has completely worn away, essentially leaving a hole for bacteria to enter the tooth. Tooth decay can be caused by improper oral hygiene, a poor diet, and not keeping up with visits to your Edmonton dentist.
- Gum recession
Gum recession, which is a symptom of gum disease, can leave the tooth root exposed. As enamel only covers the dental crown, an exposed tooth root will experience sensitivity.
How to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity
Thankfully, tooth sensitivity is often not an irreversible problem. Depending on whether your sensitivity is caused by issues with your gums and tooth enamel or by habits such as grinding your teeth, here are some tips you can try to relieve your sensitivity at home.
- Avoid your sensitivity triggers. For example, wait until hot or cold food is at a more agreeable temperature.
- Improve your oral hygiene habits, brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day.
- Improve your brushing technique by brushing for a full two minutes, not using too much force, and holding the bristles at a 45-degree angle to your teeth.
- Use an over-the-counter or a dentist-recommended desensitizing toothpaste.
- Wear a mouth guard at night if you have a habit of grinding your teeth.
When to Visit Your Edmonton Dentist About Tooth Sensitivity
You should always bring up any new or increased tooth sensitivity during your regular appointment at your Edmonton dental clinic. However, you shouldn't wait until your next checkup if your tooth sensitivity is severe and causing you significant problems. In this case, it is best to schedule an appointment with your Edmonton dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will be able to determine where your sensitivity is coming from and what can be done about it. They may simply suggest a good desensitizing toothpaste or they may choose to apply dental sealants to protect any exposed dentin.
If you're experiencing sensitive teeth, then Azarko Dental Group can help. Just schedule an appointment at our Edmonton dental clinic today.
14938 Stony Plain Rd.
Edmonton, AB T5P 3X8