Sensitive teeth can make eating, drinking, and even just going outside in cold weather an uncomfortable experience. Here’s some advice on what to do about sensitive teeth from our Lethbridge dentists.
What causes tooth sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity is caused by the movement of fluid inside tiny tubes in the dentin of your tooth, which is the layer of tissue beneath the exterior tooth enamel. This fluid movement results in nerve irritation.
When the hard enamel on the outside of your tooth is worn down or softened, or when the gums have receded, it can cause the tiny tube surfaces in the dentin to become exposed. As a result, pain can occur when eating or drinking hot or cold foods and beverages, touching your teeth, or exposing them to cold air.
What can I do about sensitive teeth?
If you have sensitive teeth, there are several different treatment options. The one you choose depends on what’s causing your sensitivity.
You could change your diet to include fewer acidic foods and drinks, as these can soften your enamel and lead to sensitivity. You can also try a desensitizing or enamel-hardening toothpaste; Sensodyne® and ProNamel® are popular choices.
If your tooth sensitivity is the result of receding gums, gum disease treatment or a gum graft might be in order. You dentist can also apply desensitizing dental treatments like sealants or filling materials to sensitive teeth.
Make sure you only use toothbrushes with soft bristles (avoid any that say ‘medium’ or ‘hard’ on the packaging, as these can wear down your enamel). Also make sure that you’re not brushing your teeth too hard, as this can have the same effect. If the bristles on your toothbrush are flattened and pointing in multiple directions, you're probably brushing too hard.
Above all, if you have sensitive teeth, book an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist will be able to diagnose the underlying problem that is causing your tooth sensitivity, and prescribe the right treatment for it.