Does a taste of ice cream or a sip of coffee cause a sharp, temporary pain in your teeth? Does brushing or flossing sometimes make you wince? Are your teeth sensitive when you breathe in cold air? If so, you are one of at least 45 million adults in America who suffer from sensitive teeth. Horton Family Dental can help!
Typically, sensitive teeth are the result of worn toth enamel or exposed tooth roots. In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel surrounds and protects the part of the tooth above the gum line and a layer of cementum protects the tooth root. When these hard layers wear down, the dentin of the tooth becomes exposed. Dentin contains tiny, microscopic tubes that allow heat and cold or acidic and sticky foods to reach the nerves in the tooth causing a short, sharp pain. Tooth sensitivity can also be caused by tooth decay, a cracked or chipped tooth, worn fillings, gum disease or tooth whitening.
The first step in eliminating tooth sensitivity is to schedule an appointment at Horton Family Dental. Dr. Doug Horton or Dr. Ben Horton can identify or rule out underlying causes of your tooth pain. Treatment will depend on what is causing the sensitivity. If your sensitivity is due to exposed dentin, Dr. Horton can prescribe a variety of in-office treatments or take-home products for your use. He may recommend using a desensitizing toothpaste that can block tooth pain over a period of time. He may also recommend discontinuing use of whitening toothpastes and tartar-control toothpastes that contain ingredients that increase tooth sensitivity. Dr. Horton may apply fluoride gel to sensitive areas to strengthen remaining tooth enamel and reduce pain.
If these treatments are unsuccessful, more aggressive treatment may be necessary, including covering exposed root surfaces with a sealant, a crown, or bonding, or a surgical bone graft or a root canal. These measures are only used if sensitivity is severe and persistent and if other treatments are not effective.
A new way to get tooth sensitivity relief is with Crest Sensi-Stop Strips. These strips are applied along the gum line and left in place for ten minutes. These strips can provide immediate relief and up to a month (or more) of protection. Our hygienists can apply these strips for you as well as teach you how to apply them correctly at home.
We can also offer suggestions to prevent recurring sensitivity. Using a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, limiting acidic foods and drinks (such as carbonated drinks, fruits, wine, and yogurt), and brushing and flossing correctly are only a few suggestions our doctors and hygienists may make.
Remember, sensitive teeth can be treated! Horton Family Dental can help!