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107 S. Prospect Road, Bloomington, IL 61704

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Understanding Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth make life much more complicated than it needs to be. No one wants to have tooth pain when eating their favorite food or having a glass of wine. However, if you have sensitive teeth, this can be a fact of life for you. You don’t need to continue suffering from the pain of sensitive teeth, though, when some minor changes in lifestyle habits can easily eliminate it.

If you experience tooth pain when you consume acidic foods or beverages, or if cold air causes your teeth to hurt, then you may have sensitive teeth. A visit to your dentist can confirm the presence of sensitive teeth and provide insight on how to eliminate it. Your dentist is the best resource for information and solutions to your dilemma of tooth pain, so make an appointment without delay. In the meantime, changing some lifestyle habits may help alleviate some of your dental pain.

Tooth sensitivity can occur when the roots and nerves are exposed. Typically, this happens as a result of a cracked tooth or the onset of decay. It can also happen as the result of receding gums, aggressive brushing habits, or the failure of an old filling. All of these allow foreign substances to reach the nerve contained in the tooth root and tooth pain is the result.

The best method for treating your sensitive teeth is to determine the cause of the pain. If your nerves and dentin are exposed, then switching to a desensitizing toothpaste and mouthwash should make a substantial difference. It may take a few days, but you should notice a gradual decrease in your pain level. Your dentist can apply fluoride to your teeth, or you can take fluoride supplements that will help make your tooth enamel stronger. For receding gums, your dentist can apply a sealant that will block substances from reaching the nerves.

If none of these options are effective, then your dentist can perform a root canal. This involves removing the pulpy interior that contains the nerve, cleaning and disinfecting the canal, and then filling it with gutta-percha. You’ll get a crown that will cover your entire tooth, and the tooth will once again be fully functional.

What Are the Common Causes of Sensitive Teeth?

The tendency for sensitive gums may be hereditary, but often, it’s a combination of lifestyle habits and choices that increase the sensitivity of your teeth, such as:

  1. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush and hard pressure. This erodes your tooth enamel, and your teeth can become more sensitive. Switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush and use gentle pressure when brushing.
  2. Bruxism, or grinding your teeth at night, can also erode your tooth enamel and cause your teeth to become more sensitive. A custom nightguard, available from your dentist, can eliminate this problem.
  3. Recent dental procedures can temporarily cause an increase in tooth sensitivity, but it should be only temporary. If it persists, contact your dentist.
  4. Failure of an old filling can increase sensitivity in the tooth. If you notice decay around the base of an old filling, then that may be the culprit. Make an appointment with your dentist to have the old filling removed and replaced, and the sensitivity should disappear.
  5. Receding gums due to periodontal disease or any other cause can expose the tooth nerve and increase its sensitivity. Your dentist can treat the inflammation that’s causing your gums to recede and then apply a sealant that will prevent substances from reaching the nerves.
  6. Acidic foods and beverages such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, pickles, wine, and coffee can aggravate sensitive teeth, so try to avoid them.
  7. Cold beverages can also trigger pain, as can cold air.
    A chipped or cracked tooth can allow foreign substances to reach your tooth nerve, so if you have a chipped or cracked tooth, then make an appointment with your dentist without delay.
  8. Alcohol or other ingredients that are sometimes present in toothpaste or mouthwash can aggravate sensitive teeth, so switch to dental products designed for sensitive teeth.
  9. Many tooth-whitening products can cause pain to those who have sensitive teeth. Try switching to tooth-whitening products that are specifically formulated for sensitive teeth, and you should notice an improvement.

Don’t continue to suffer from the pain of sensitive teeth or avoid the foods and beverages you enjoy. Make an appointment with your dentist to determine the underlying cause of your tooth sensitivity but make some of the above lifestyle changes in the meantime.

How Can I Help My Sensitive Teeth?

There are several methods you can try to reduce the pain that your sensitive teeth cause, such as:

  • Make an appointment with your dentist. They have years or decades of experience and expertise in treating and eliminating dental pain. This means they’ll ensure you have the best dental health possible and alleviate your pain in the shortest time possible.
  • Use dental products that are specifically designed for sensitive teeth.
  • Use a toothpaste and a mouthwash that contain fluoride.
  • Switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush and use gentle pressure when brushing.
  • Make sure you’re dedicated to your oral hygiene. Don’t skip it because you’re tired or short on time.
  • If you have bruxism, get a custom mouth guard from your dentist.
  • Avoid the foods and beverages that cause you pain until you and your dentist can work out a solution.

Sometimes, sensitive teeth can be caused by serious underlying conditions. If you have sensitive teeth, you should seek the advice of your medical professional. Your dentist can advise you whether you need medical attention.

What Helps Sensitive Teeth?

If your sensitive teeth issues stem from dental habits, the following tips may help alleviate some of the problems:

  1. Be consistent and dedicated to your oral hygiene routine.
  2. Avoid acidic foods and beverages that can erode your enamel.
  3. Use toothpaste and mouthwash that contain fluoride and are designed for sensitive teeth.
  4. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle pressure. Avoid brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with firm bristles.
  5. Wear a nightguard if you grind your teeth at night.
  6. Schedule regular dental appointments at least annually. Twice annually is better.

If you have sensitive teeth, it’s important to take all possible measures to ensure they don’t worsen. If your tooth sensitivity increases, then schedule an appointment with your dentist. You may have issues of which you’re unaware, but your dentist will be able to spot them, assess them, and provide a solution.

What If I Can’t Get to the Dentist?

If you’re having difficulty scheduling a dental appointment, do the following in the interim:

  1. Use desensitizing toothpaste, which is different from toothpaste for sensitive teeth. A desensitizing toothpaste decrease sensitivity, and within a few days, you should notice a decrease in the amount of pain you experience.
  2. If your tooth sensitivity is due to receding gums, you may need a gum graft to cover the nerves and the root. You may need to do some research on the best gum graft specialist in your area, but it will be worth the effort.
  3. Ask about fluoride applications. Fluoride strengthens the tooth enamel, so your teeth will be stronger and may be less sensitive.

Sensitive teeth and gums are preventable as well as treatable. However, practicing good oral hygiene on a daily basis should deter the onset of tooth sensitivity. Talk to your dentist about improving your daily oral hygiene so that you can avoid painful, sensitive teeth. With proper care and maintenance, your teeth can last throughout your lifetime, and you won’t need the pain and inconvenience of artificial teeth.

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(309) 740-4241

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