If you suffer daily with sensitive teeth, you're not alone. Approximately 1 out of every 8 adults have sensitive teeth. The cause of sensitive teeth is quite simple. Sensitivity occurs when tooth dentin, the soft tissue beneath the enamel, becomes more exposed to the elements of the mouth. Several factors can cause this to happen, including genetics, over-zealous brushing, periodontal disease, or tooth decay. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to treat tooth sensitivity. Following are four things you can do to stop the pain.
As mentioned, tooth sensitivity may be caused by vigorous brushing. To prevent sensitivity, always brush with a soft-bristled brush, using gentle strokes. It's also a good idea to use toothpaste intended for people with sensitive teeth. These toothpastes are highly effective at treating tooth sensitivity. For particularly sensitive areas, you can even rub the toothpaste directly on the tooth.
Fluoride treatments help harden the enamel of the tooth, which can lower tooth sensitivity. Fluoride treatments are usually performed in your dentist's office. However, there are prescription fluoride rinses you can use at home. Your dentist may recommend these in addition to in-office treatments. You can also get an extra dose of fluoride from drinking tap water and using a toothpaste with fluoride.
Sometimes tooth sensitivity is caused by dental problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease. In these cases, you will need to treat the underlying dental issue as well as the sensitivity. Sometimes the treatment is as easy as having a cavity filled. If your gums have receded, exposing the super-sensitive tooth surface underneath, you may need gum grafts.
If you have extremely sensitive teeth and other treatments have been unsuccessful, your dentist may recommend bonding. Bonding involves placing bonding agents over sensitive areas, replacing the eroded tooth enamel. This procedure is commonly used to treat areas where roots have come too close to the surface, which can be a result of receding gums.
As you can see, there are several ways you can treat teeth sensitivity. If you have sensitive teeth, start with the least expensive and least invasive treatments first, such as toothpaste for sensitive teeth and fluoride treatments. If these treatments don't work, slowly progress to more involved treatments. If none of the above treatments work and your pain is severe enough, you might want to consider a root canal. Contact a dentist, such as Samuel D Knight, DDS, for more information.