Are these cold winter temperatures causing your teeth to be sensitive? Or perhaps you tend to pass on your favorite hot or cold beverages because you know your teeth will hurt. Do things like sweets or sour foods make you cringe? If any of these sound familiar, then it may be time to come in to see us at Dr. Joy Lunan’s dental office. Having sensitive teeth can be an early warning sign that something more serious is brewing.
Many people suffer from tooth sensitivity. It can come on at anytime, however, people between the ages of 20 and 40 are more commonly affected. Women tend to have more tooth sensitivity than men as well.
It is very important to take care of your teeth’s enamel. Enamel is the hard protective layer on the outer portion of your tooth. When it is lost the nerve endings in the second layer of tooth (dentin) may become exposed, causing pain or sensitivity.
Causes of Tooth Sensitivity:
~ Brushing too hard, particularly where the teeth meet your gums can cause enamel to wear away. Try to remember to use a lighter hand and a soft bristled toothbrush. Avoid a side to side motion, instead, brush at a 45 degree angle in a small circular motion.
~ Acidic foods and drinks can cause tooth erosion. Try to avoid things like soda, sticky candy and high sugar carbohydrates. If you must have these foods then try chewing sugarless gum after eating. This will moisten your mouth and create saliva to wash away bacteria that can erode your enamel.
~ Tooth grinding or clenching your teeth causes the enamel to be worn away. We tend to do this when we are stressed. If you can’t remove all the stress in your life then speak with Dr. Lunan about getting fitted with a mouth guard to alleviate the affects on your teeth.
~ Tooth whitening can cause temporary tooth sensivity for some people. If this is the case take a break and skip a day or two. If that doen’t help, talk to Dr. Lunan about other remedies.
~ Receding gums can leave the roots of your teeth exposed and make them more sensitive. The root surfaces of our teeth does not have a protective layer of enamel on them and can be much more sensitive than the rest of your tooth. In some cases, one may need a gum graft to cover the exposed root surface back up again.
~ Gum disease from poor oral care can lead to the gums receding and even destroy some of the bone structure that holds your tooth in place. Pockets can form in the gum tissue and this makes it even harder to keep things clean. Sometimes a deep dental cleaning may be needed to improve oral conditions and stop the gums from receding further.
~ A cracked tooth or filling can sometimes go down into the center of the tooth towards the tooth’s nerve area. Symptoms may include sensitivity to extreme cold or hot.
Treating Sensitive Teeth:
Some things that may help relieve tooth sensitivty are toothpaste for sensitive teeth, fluoride gels, rinses or varnishes, fillings that cover exposed root surfaces, routine fillings or desensitizing pastes. In more serious cases a root canal or tooth extraction may be needed. It is important to remember not to avoid Dr. Lunan because of tooth sensitivity. That will only make your condition worse.
Preventing Sensitive Teeth:
Always make your best effort to brush twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste and a soft bristled toothbrush. Try to only have acidic and sweet foods on special occasions. If you find yourself grinding or clenching your teeth, talk to Dr. Lunan about whether a mouth guard is in your future. If you have been thinking about whitening your teeth, plan ahead for possible tooth sensitivity with Dr. Lunan before hand. Last, but not least, visit us at Dr. Lunan’s office at least twice a year for your regular dental checkups.
If you would like to discuss your tooth sensitivity with Dr. Lunan, please do not hesitate to call anytime. We are always accepting new patients and would be happy to help you and your family. (203) 598-7920