Ask the Dentist: What are sensitive teeth and can they be treated?

Dr Mogren explaining sensitive teeth

What is tooth sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity is a phenomenon that is caused by the exposure of the dentin in your teeth. The dentin is the part of your tooth that is under the enamel, and separates the enamel from the nerves. When the dentin is exposed, either by the recession of gums, or the wearing down of enamel, sensations of hot and cold can reach the nerves, causing a feeling of pain. If you feel pain when drinking a hot cup of coffee or chomping down on a cold popsicle, you might have sensitive teeth.

Can I treat tooth sensitivity?

The simple answer is, “Yes.” There are many ways to take care of sensitive teeth – some options you can use at home, while others will require you to see your local dentist.

Desensitizing toothpaste: Probably the most common and popular solution, toothpaste made specifically for people with sensitive teeth is a good option for mild cases. Any treatment method will take about a month to see real results, but you may have to try a few brands to find the right one for you. It’s important that you use a fluoridated toothpaste rather than a tatar one. Tip: you can spread desensitizing toothpaste along the gum line at night before you go to bed with a Q-tip to speed up the process.

Fluoridated rinse: Using a fluoridated rinse daily can also lessen the effects of sensitivity. Your dentist should be able to give you some helpful recommendations on what brands are right for you.

Watch what you eat: Some foods that are highly acidic or full of sugars are best to avoid. Stay away from carbonated beverages and opt for water instead.

Observe good oral hygiene: Above all, it is most important that you keep up on your oral hygiene routine. This means regular flossing, brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and ensuring that you brush effectively. Some causes of tooth sensitivity can be taken care of with just these small adjustments.

What if those methods don’t work?

If your tooth sensitivity persists, it’s best to talk to your dentist. He or she might have other recommendations for you, and there are a few procedures they can conduct in office like dentin sealers, fluoride varnishes, or white fillings that cover the exposed roots of your teeth.

If you have questions or concerns regarding sensitive teeth, call Mogren Dental at (231) 737-5500 or schedule your appointment online!

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