Oooh! Ouch! Wow….that hurts! For some people, these expressions may become more frequent as the temperatures continue to drop. Those that suffer from sensitive teeth can experience this pain even as they breathe in the cold air outside, little sharp zings that can catch you by surprise. What causes this and what can be done?
First of all, let us assume that you are keeping up on your regular check-ups with your dentist and that you have been cleared of all cavities. The most common cause of this sensitivity is from worn enamel and worn gum tissue. These wear patterns and recession can be from brushing too hard, grinding your teeth or from an uneven bite that would need to be diagnosed by a dentist.
How can you help calm those sensitive areas?
- First of all, start with brushing in small, soft circles, aiming the bristles gently toward the gum line. Use only a soft or extra soft bristled toothbrush. Brushing with a Sonicare is even better, because if you try to brush too hard, the motor will back off. Also you need to start brushing with a sensitive toothpaste. Sensodyne is the most common sensitive paste, but there are many on the market. Colgate has some great sensitive options as well. Find one with a flavor that you like and carries the best price. During extremely sensitive times you can massage a little sensitive toothpaste into the root area with your finger, or even talk to your dentist about applying a desensitizer to the tooth as well.
- Avoid extreme temperature drinks both hot and cold, or drink these through a straw. By using a straw, those liquids can be taken on to the back of the mouth and not coat the affected areas. Do not skip your brushing or flossing because of this sensitivity, as that will lead to a whole new set of problems and sensitivity with cavities.
- Other things to watch that can increase sensitivity are too many acidic drinks, such as juices and soda. These drinks erode away the enamel. Also do not overdue it on the whitening products. Some whitening toothpastes are too abrasive and can also wear away the enamel.
- If you feel that you are grinding or clenching at night, you may need to get a night guard to help protect the teeth and jaw. If you are putting unhealthy forces on your teeth all night long, this too can lead to hypersensitivity. These can be custom made by the dentist office and with newer technology; they are so much more comfortable and easy to use than they used to be.
With the holidays quickly approaching, this can be a common time for patients to begin to grind and clench due to increases in stress.
Any questions about your sensitive teeth and to discuss your options to find relief, contact my office to schedule an appointment for an evaluation.
Until next time…..Keep on Smiling!