Sensitive teeth affect a large number of people all over the world. Sensitive teeth are often the result of receding gums and the loss of dental tissue that covers the roots of a person’s teeth. This dental tissue is known as cementum. Tooth sensitivity can also occur after a loss of tooth enamel.
When the enamel wears down, the dentin faces exposure to irritants in the mouth like bacteria, food particles and saliva. The dentin contains tiny tubules that connect the dental pulp to the external tooth surface. The pulp chamber is where the blood vessels and nerves of a tooth reside. When the dentin faces exposure, it is extremely sensitive to anything hot or cold.
How are sensitive teeth treated?
After receiving a diagnosis for tooth sensitivity from a dentist, there are a few options that a patient can take.
There are a variety of treatments for sensitive teeth at the dentist’s office. For example, there are desensitizing agents that a dentist can apply to the tooth like fluoride foams, gels or varnishes. There are also desensitizing pastes that can seal the tubules openings and help remineralize the enamel and dentin.
The dentist will typically perform a professional cleaning before applying one of these desensitizing agents to the teeth. This cleaning helps ensure there is not any tartar on the surface of the tooth that will block these agents from entering the tubules.
Fluoride gels and foams will also be on a mouth tray that the patient bites down on and holds in place for about a minute. This infuses the tooth with fluoride and can keep it free of decay for months at a time. It is important to avoid eating and drinking for at least 30 minutes after getting such a treatment. Desensitizing pastes also go through a similar procedure.
Other things you can do to deal with sensitive teeth
Taking care of sensitive teeth do not stop after leaving the dentist’s office. There are many kinds of toothpaste that help to desensitize the teeth. Most of these are only a little bit more expensive than regular toothpaste. Look for a toothpaste that contains potassium nitrate. Taking proper care of one’s mouth also goes a long way when it comes to minimizing the effects of sensitive teeth. Remember, sensitive teeth are typically the result of two issues: tooth decay and gum disease.
Taking proper care of your teeth helps to eliminate the bacteria that convert food particles into corrosive acids that damage teeth enamel and cementum. Brushing also helps to remove food particles that are left behind after eating. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily, and use an antibacterial mouthwash to lower the bacteria count in your mouth. Doing these things will help to desensitize your teeth as the teeth enamel and cementum become healthier.
What to learn more about dealing with sensitive teeth? Contact one of our dentists today for a consultation.