Sensitive teeth can be an annoying, or downright painful condition to live with, but it doesn't have to impact your day to day life. A visit to your dentist is the best option to relieve the pain associated with sensitive teeth, but there are a few options you can do at home as well. Once your dentist has pinpointed the issue, you can approach a treatment plan that will leave tooth sensitivity in the past.
Visit Your Dentist
Often, tooth sensitivity problems are caused by dental cavities, cracked teeth or gum issues. Cavities can lead to sensitive teeth, and this is why it's best to visit your dentist to have everything checked out. Filling cavities and performing root canals are procedures your dentist can use to lessen or even end tooth sensitivity. Poor dental hygiene is another factor that contributes to sensitivity, and nothing helps you get back on track with dental hygiene than a comprehensive cleaning at your dentist. They can look at the condition of your gums as well. Gingivitis and gum disease are big contributors to teeth sensitivity as receding gums expose more sensitive areas of your teeth. If your dentist determines that you have signs of gum disease, you'll want to get it treated right away.
While you're in the office, certain resins sealants can be painted onto your teeth to help reduce sensitivity. These are temporary and eventually wear off, but if you're experiencing pain from sensitivity, they are worth investigating.
Be sure to ask your dentist if there are signs of teeth grinding when they give you an exam. Sometimes patients are aware that they grind their teeth, but other times it only happens at night, and they might not be aware of how serious the grinding has become. As you grind your teeth they sustain damage, which then leads to sensitivity just like a cavity. There are options your dentist can prescribe like mouthguards that will protect your teeth as you sleep. Conscious behavioral changes and steps taken to reduce stress can prevent future teeth grinding as well.
Home Care Options
Finally, don't forget to discuss in-home care options while you're at the dentist. An exam and treatment at the office is an important first step, but there are other measures you can take at home to prevent future sensitivity.
Sensitivity Toothpastes / Mouthwashes
The first option for home care is to switch to a toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth. These toothpastes contain potassium nitrate which can help reduce the feeling of sensitive teeth. You'll have to use sensitive toothpaste for several days to achieve maximum results, and after a while, you can evaluate whether you still need to use it or not. As for toothpastes to avoid, whitening and tartar control toothpastes are known to contribute to sensitivity, and you should avoid these until the sensitivity is under control.
A fluoride mouthwash can help with sensitivity as well. Regular use of a mouthwash can strengthen the enamel and fortify your teeth, often resulting in less sensations of sensitivity. Shop for mouthwashes that are approved by the ADA and are designed for people with sensitive teeth.
The use of a firm or hard toothbrush as well as scrubbing too hard have been shown to contribute to tooth sensitivity. You'll want to back off your brushing habits by focusing more on soft gentle strokes vs. hard and fast brushing motions. Head to the store and pick out a brush with soft bristles and make a change to these brushes going forward. This will reduce any further damage and lessen symptoms of sensitivity in the future.
Changes To Your Diet
Acidic foods have been shown to contribute to sensitivity as they can wear through enamel. Those suffering from substantial sensitivity will want to cut acidic foods out of their diet. This includes sodas, coffee, citrus fruits and anything else high in acid content. When in doubt ask your dentist which foods you should avoid.
Get your sensitivity checked out today at Grace & Leedy Family Dentistry. We'll help diagnose the cause of your sensitive teeth and prescribe a treatment method to make those annoying symptoms a thing of the past. We can help you determine the best home care options as well. Schedule an appointment today!