Tingling Teeth: Dealing with Tooth Sensitivity in New Lenox, IL
Do you avoid eating popsicles and putting ice in your drinks? Does hot soup have to sit for awhile before you can take a bite? Have you given up on teeth whitening because it’s just too painful?
People with tooth sensitivity are all too familiar with these and other situations. When you have sensitive teeth, contact with hot or cold foods and beverages can be very painful and unpleasant. Whitening strips might leave your teeth tingling for hours. Sometimes, your teeth might start feeling sensitive for no reason at all. It’s an extremely unpleasant sensation, and it can even impact your daily life.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
Each individual tooth is comprised of different parts that keep it protected from damage and decay. This includes the enamel, which covers the crown of the tooth. Below the gum line, the cementum protects the root of the tooth. Under the layer of enamel and cementum, you’ll find the dentin, which is more porous. If the enamel and cementum get worn away and the dentin becomes exposed, heat and cold will affect the nerves inside the tooth, causing sensitivity. Dentin can also become exposed if the gum tissue covering the root recedes.
Various circumstances can lead up to tooth sensitivity, including:
- Gum recession
- Exposed tooth root
- Worn tooth enamel
- Gum disease
- Worn out fillings
- Fractured teeth
If you’re suffering from tooth sensitivity, you should consult with your dentist as soon as possible to find the cause of the problem and formulate a treatment plan to lessen the symptoms and prevent any sensitivity flareups in the future.
Options for Treating and Preventing Tooth Sensitivity
The cause of your particular sensitivity will determine what kind of treatment you’ll need.
Have you heard of Sensodyne or Fluoridex? Changing to a desensitizing toothpaste can reduce your tooth sensitivity over time. These toothpastes contain compounds that can help prevent any sensation on the surface of the tooth from reaching the nerve. You may need to use the toothpaste for several weeks before you notice improvement.
Gum grafting is a surgical procedure that might benefit you if you have considerable gum recession. Gum recession can leave the tooth root exposed to the air, and therefore to any sensations. With gum grafting, some tissue is surgically removed from the roof of the mouth and grafted to the remaining gum tissue around the exposed root. The gum graft will cover and protect the root, which should minimize any sensitivity.
Fluoride helps to build up and reinforce tooth enamel so it’s stronger and more resistant to sensations. We highly recommend having a fluoride treatment right after your dental cleaning.
Sometimes, more direct action may be required to treat your tooth sensitivity. With root canal therapy, your dentist removes the infected pulp inside the tooth and replaces it with an inert substance. Then, a crown is placed on top to protect the tooth. This helps to prevent infection of the tooth, but it also greatly reduces sensitivity.
Bonding, Crown, or Inlay
If your tooth is decaying, cracked, or chipped, this while likely make the tooth extremely sensitive. To strengthen the tooth and treat the sensitivity, we might recommend:
Bonding: Bonding is used to repair chipped or broken teeth.
Inlay: A dental inlay is a type of filling often used to fix cavities that are located more in the center of the tooth (as opposed to the outer edges). The inlay is pre-molded to fit the cavity and then cemented onto the tooth.
Crown: A crown covers the entire tooth to protect against decay, damage, and sensitivity.
How Can I Prevent Tooth Sensitivity?
To avoid having sensitive teeth in the future, it’s essential that you maintain good oral hygiene and don’t brush your teeth too hard (this can wear down your enamel and cause gum recession). Furthermore, if you have an active lifestyle and regularly engage in sports that could put your teeth at risk, be sure to invest in a sturdy mouthguard.
If you suffer from bruxism (teeth grinding), ask your dentist about getting a night guard. This protects the teeth from being worn down over time, and it can also prevent gum recession.
It isn’t always possible to avoid tooth sensitivity, especially if you have an accident that damages one or more teeth, but being aware of your own habits and activities and taking steps to protect your teeth can go a long way.
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