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Understanding Sensitive Teeth

If you are like most people, you have occasionally experienced pain or discomfort when eating something extremely cold or extremely hot. This is a normal reaction to temperature changes that affect your teeth. People who experience more frequent episodes of these issues, however, usually are diagnosed with dentin hypersensitivity, a condition that affects about one out of eight people in the United States. Sensitive teeth can have a real impact on your ability to enjoy life. Seeking treatment from a qualified family dentist in Florida is a good way to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with this common dental condition.

Symptoms of Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth can cause a number of different types of discomfort or pain, including the following:

  • Sharp or stabbing pain when teeth are exposed to hot or cold foods or drinks
  • A dull ache that radiates outward
  • Pain or discomfort that occurs when pressure is applied to teeth during biting or chewing
  • Pain in the teeth when inhaling cold air through the mouth
  • Discomfort when brushing or flossing teeth

These issues can be caused by a variety of issues, some of which can be addressed to allow you to manage pain and discomfort caused by tooth sensitivity.

Why Are My Teeth Sensitive?

Some cases of sensitive teeth are related to genetic factors that are outside your control. Your dentist may recommend preventive treatments for you if sensitive teeth are known to run in your family. In most cases, however, the underlying causes of tooth sensitivity can be pinpointed and addressed effectively. Some of the most common reasons that your teeth may be sensitive are listed below:

Tooth decay

Probably the single most common reason for dentin hypersensitivity is the deterioration of tooth enamel caused by tooth decay. Brushing and flossing regularly can help to reduce your risk of this issue. If tooth enamel is damaged by the bacteria and plaque that cause tooth decay, however, it is important to see your dentist right away to remove the decay and seal off the area with a filling. This can typically reduce the pain associated with sensitive teeth and can help you enjoy your regular activities once again.

Rough treatment

Brushing your teeth too hard, grinding them or using abrasive toothpastes can all have an impact on the health of your dental enamel. Most dentists recommend using a mild toothpaste with fluoride and a soft-bristled toothbrush to care for your teeth. A night guard customized to fit your teeth can be worn at night to stop grinding or clenching from damaging tooth enamel. By treating your teeth more gently, you may be able to reduce your risk of developing tooth sensitivity.

Gum disease

Normally, the roots of your teeth are covered by your gums. If you have periodontal disease, however, receding gums may reveal much more of your teeth. This can result in hypersensitivity as these areas are exposed to stimuli. Treating your gum disease can often reduce the chance of this issue. If your gums have already receded, however, your dentist may recommend the application of a sealant to prevent further damage and to reduce the symptoms of dental sensitivity.

The foods you choose

Acidic foods and drinks are often implicated in cases of dentin hypersensitivity. Tomatoes, citrus fruits, such as limes and lemons, and pickles are among the most acidic foods. These menu items can cause serious damage to tooth enamel if eaten frequently. Brushing after consuming acidic foods will prevent some damage. If you have severe sensitivity, however, you may want to cut out these foods altogether.

Damage to your teeth

If you have a crack or chip in one or more teeth, this can allow stimuli to affect the exposed dentin. Seeking immediate dental care can reduce the pain you experience from dentin hypersensitivity and can prevent further damage to these broken or damaged teeth. This can significantly improve your comfort and can help you to keep your smile looking as bright and beautiful as possible.

Infections and abscesses

While an infection of the gums or roots is not the most common reason for tooth sensitivity, this issue can often develop into an abscess that can cause severe pain with or without the application of heat or cold. Seeking dental treatment immediately is the best course of action to treat these issues and to deal with pain caused by infections and abscesses. A root canal or other treatment regimen may be recommended by your dentist to resolve this problem on a permanent basis.

Treatments for Sensitive Teeth

Your dentist may recommend pain relievers to help you manage the discomfort associated with sensitive teeth. In some cases, dietary adjustments and changing the way you brush and floss your teeth can make a big difference in the degree of sensitivity you experience. Other treatments that your dentist may recommend include the following:

  • Dental sealants can cover areas of worn or deteriorating tooth enamel to reduce the effect that heat and cold can produce. This treatment is often recommended for patients with gum disease and other issues that can reduce the strength and the thickness of tooth enamel.
  • Crowns are also sometimes recommended as a solution for teeth that are highly sensitive to heat, cold or pressure. These dental appliances put an added layer of protection over the affected areas to provide real relief from pain for patients.
  • Fluoride treatments can help to harden your existing tooth enamel to reduce the risk of damage to this essential layer of your tooth. Your dentist will recommend these treatments if they are a viable way to resolve your dental sensitivity issues.

Your local dentist in Florida can help you to cope with dental sensitivity. This can help you to resolve these issues and to get back to your regular routine without pain or discomfort caused by dentin hypersensitivity or any other recurring dental issue.

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