Sensitive teeth hurt when exposed to extreme temperatures. Hot and cold foods and drinks are common triggers for this kind of dental pain. The temperature change causes exposed, nerve-laden dentin to flare with pain. Pressure from biting down also aggravates sensitive teeth and can cause shooting pain.
A few common causes of sensitive teeth include:
- Chipped or cracked teeth
- Gum disease
- Infected tooth roots
- Thinning abraded or worn-down enamel
Four tips for sensitive teeth you can do at home
- Use toothpaste specifically for sensitive teeth. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth fill in tiny microchannels and holes in enamel leading to exposed dentin, as well as soothes over-active nerves in the tender dentin. Make sure that your choice is a sensitizing toothpaste. They contain ingredients that block pain. It takes several days of regular use before sensitive teeth toothpaste gives a significant improvement, so don’t give up early!
- Use mouthwash with fluoride. Early to mild gum disease can cause sensitive teeth by eroding enamel. Mouthwash fortified with fluoride will arrest the damage and strengthen your teeth.
- Stop using medium or hard toothbrushes. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush instead. Don’t scrub your teeth like you would a dirty sink! Instead, use gentle strokes.
- Start brushing and flossing regularly. Plaque that coats the surface of your teeth is laden with bacteria. Bacteria consume sugars and food particles, creating an acidic film on the tooth surface. This acid damages tooth enamel.
If pain and sensitivity persist, see your Houston pediatric dentist. Your dentist near you will examine your teeth and gums and may recommend:
- Fluoride application: The dentist may apply fluoride directly to your teeth, as well as suggest an ongoing application of prescription-strength at home. Typically, a special tray for home use is included in this treatment.
- Bonding or desensitizing: dentists occasionally place bonding resin onto exposed or irritated roots.
- Surgical Gum Graft: When gum tissue has eroded and exposed teeth roots, a small graft of gum tissue can get rid of sensitivity and protect roots from decay and infection.
- Root canal. If your sensitive teeth are caused by infection of your tooth’s core (dental pulp or roots, your dentist may recommend a root canal.