Do your teeth hurt when you bite into a slice of hot pizza or drink a cold beverage? If so, you may have sensitive teeth. Teeth sensitivity can develop for many reasons, including cavities, gum disease, worn tooth enamel, old fillings, and/or exposed tooth roots. Depending on the cause, your dentist can recommend treatment to help ease any discomfort you are experiencing due to sensitive teeth.
Are sensitive teeth painful?
Yes. Daily activities like tooth brushing, eating, and drinking can create discomfort or pain.
You may feel discomfort or pain in response to one or more of these triggers:
- Acidic foods and beverages (carbonated drinks, sweet tea, fruit juices, beer, wine, etc.)
- Brushing or flossing your teeth
- Cold air
- Cold foods and beverages – including cold water
- Hot foods and beverages
- Sweet foods
- Using an alcohol-based mouth rinse
Is there a remedy for sensitive teeth?
Yes. Schedule an appointment with your dentist. They can determine the cause of sensitivity and recommend a treatment. The dentist may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
Desensitizing toothpaste includes ingredients that help to block uncomfortable nerve sensations. Buy a desensitizing toothpaste that lists the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
Your dentist will apply a fluoride gel to sensitive areas of your teeth. This will help to reduce pain and strengthen tooth enamel. The dentist may also recommend an at-home fluoride treatment.
Inlay, crown, or tooth bonding
If you have tooth decay, an inlay, crown, or tooth bonding can alleviate tooth sensitivity.
Surgical gum graft
If a patient has lost gum tissue near tooth roots, a surgical gum graft can help to reduce pain and protect roots.
Your dentist may recommend a root canal if you have severe pain that does not respond to other treatment.
What can I do to prevent sensitive teeth?
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush; a soft-bristled toothbrush is gentler on tooth enamel compared to a medium or stiff-bristled brush
- Don't brush too hard; rough brushing can affect tooth enamel
- Limit how often you eat or drink acidic foods. Regularly consuming acidic drinks such as citrus juices, carbonated beverages, and wine can affect your tooth enamel; drink water after consuming an acidic beverage to reduce acid levels
- Limit tooth bleaching. A regular desire for pearly whites can cause temporary pain; talk with your dentist about how tooth bleaching can affect your teeth and if you should continue bleaching.
If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, request an appointment with your dentist. They will recommend a treatment to reduce tooth sensitivity and alleviate pain or discomfort based on your oral health needs.