Dr. Jennifer Vitarelli

All You Need to Know About Tooth Sensitivity

For many people, food is their source of joy, so it’s important that we care for our teeth to ensure that we can always enjoy every dish we love. Tooth sensitivity is one of the issues that can prevent us from enjoying ourselves and it’s such a common problem, as 50% of the entire population is said to have it. For this reason, it’s imperative to understand what causes the issue and what you can do to prevent it. If you’re facing this issue, read on to learn more about teeth sensitivity and what you can do about it.

What Is Tooth Sensitivity?

The tooth is a calcium structure that’s attached to the skull, but it’s not a part of the skull. The difference between teeth and bones is that there are nerve endings inside the tooth structure. When the enamel layer becomes worn, these nerve endings will be more exposed. As a result, when you eat food that’s too hot or cold, you will feel a slight tingling sensation. That is the source of tooth sensitivity and it may not be as detrimental in the early stages, but it’s a sign that there’s an issue you need to worry about with your teeth.

The pulp of the tooth is the layer underneath the enamel and dentin and it’s where the mentioned nerve endings are located. Therefore, the best way to prevent tooth sensitivity is to maintain the layer of enamel and dentin to prevent the pulp from becoming exposed to the elements. The nerve endings are particularly sensitive to different acids and extreme temperatures, which is the reason why you may experience pain even when it gets cold outside.

Listed below are some common causes of tooth sensitivity or the wearing of the enamel and dentin layers:

Brushing too hard

Eating an excessive amount of acidic food

Teeth grinding or clenching

Unregulated use of mouthwash

Untreated plaque buildup

Improper tooth whitening treatment

What Can I Do to Help My Tooth Sensitivity?

If you’re having issues with tooth sensitivity, you’ll be glad to know that you can take care of the issue by yourself at home:

// Use desensitizing toothpaste

Desensitizing toothpaste helps provide a layer of protection to your teeth, which will help reduce the exposure of the pulp to the elements and fluctuating temperatures. However, you need to make sure that you talk with your dentist about which product is best for you, as some of them can be considered medication and you will need a prescription to get some.

// Avoid highly acidic foods and drinks

If you prefer sweet or highly sour food, you may want to cut back on those when you’re trying to treat tooth sensitivity. These foods will put stress on your enamel, which can lead to it being exposed to the elements.

// Use mouthguards

If you have a history of teeth grinding when you sleep, you may want to get a nighttime mouth guard to prevent further damage.

// Use a fluoridated mouthwash regularly

Fluoride is a substance that helps to protect your enamel, so if you’re not receiving it enough of it, you can consider using fluoridated mouthwash to deal with this issue.

If these options fail you can consider getting these treatments:

// Fluoride gel or varnish

This treatment option works similarly to fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash, but on a much larger scale. It’s a more reliable way to reduce pain and strengthen your enamel.

// Dental bonding, crowns, or inlays

Sometimes, the sensitivity may be caused by cavities, so you may need to treat those cavities to reduce the sensitivity you feel. These three options are commonly used to treat patients presented with tooth sensitivity caused by worn enamel.

// Root canal

A root canal can be a last resort for those dealing with tooth sensitivity, as it will help clear the pulp of the bacteria that may be causing the pain.

Vitarelli Dental is a dental office based in Madison NJ, get in touch today to see how we can help you maintain a great set of teeth.

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