Does this sound familiar? You take a sip of an ice-cold drink on a hot summer day, and suddenly you feel a jolt of pain in your tooth. Perhaps sipping your morning coffee is no longer the enjoyable experience it used to be. Maybe brushing has become an uncomfortable routine that you dread twice a day.
One in every eight Americans deals with tooth sensitivity — also called dentin hypersensitivity. This is the pain or discomfort in your teeth that you feel because of certain stimuli like exposure to heat or cold. It may affect a single tooth, or you may have several sensitive teeth. In either case, the discomfort can make you wonder if you can fix tooth sensitivity.
As your Las Vegas orthodontist, Dr. Hansen is here to help.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
There’s no single cause for tooth sensitivity. It can occur due to several different issues. Getting to the bottom of what’s triggering your discomfort can help determine the best course of action to reduce or fix tooth sensitivity. Some causes include:
- Thinning tooth enamel
- Gum recession — exposing tooth roots
- Gum disease
- A cavity — or defective filling
- An infection in the tooth
- Aggressive brushing habits
- Use of whitening products
What Are the Symptoms of Tooth Sensitivity
The most noticeable symptom of tooth sensitivity is a sudden, sharp pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold. Other symptoms include:
- Localized sensitivity — limited to one specific tooth or several teeth next to one another
- Pain or discomfort while eating
- Pain while brushing
- Pain when using alcohol-based mouthwash
Tooth Sensitivity Remedies
There are plenty of things you can do at home to help reduce your tooth sensitivity. In more severe cases, you may need professional dental care. Remedies for tooth sensitivity include:
- Specially designed oral care products. Desensitizing toothpaste often contains potassium nitrate, a compound that can block pain signals.
- Soft-bristled toothbrushes. Sturdier bristles can aggravate sensitivity. Instead, soft-bristled brushes along with gentler brushing habits can help avoid discomfort.
- Salt water rinse. Salt can help balance the pH levels in your mouth — preventing bacterial growth while also reducing plaque buildup on your teeth.
- Cloves. Cloves, including clove oil, contain compounds that fight bacteria and reduce pain. Swishing cloves can also have a numbing effect to alleviate discomfort.
- Fresh garlic. Fresh garlic contains a compound called allicin, which fights bacteria and eases pain.
- Nighttime mouthguard. Nighttime teeth grinding can wear down your tooth enamel, making your teeth more sensitive. A mouthguard can cushion your teeth, preventing further damage.
- Professional dental care. In some cases, professional treatment may be necessary. Depending on the cause of your tooth sensitivity, you may need a filling, root canal, or gum graft to help reduce or eliminate your pain.
Get Additional Tips and Care to Help Fix Tooth Sensitivity
Dealing with tooth sensitivity is a pain, but you can do some things to minimize or even eliminate it. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, Hansen Orthodontics can help get it under control.
As a top Las Vegas orthodontist, we can get to the root cause of your discomfort and provide you with treatment options or additional tips for at-home care. With your pain under control, you can get back to enjoying life.
For more information and to schedule your appointment, contact Hansen Orthodontics today.