You’re enjoying your favorite nightly treat — a perfectly portioned serving of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream — when a searing pain hits your teeth. The next morning, you take your first sip of coffee and the same pain hits. Come to think of it, you feel slight pain every time you brush your teeth. Why are your teeth suddenly so sensitive? At Reston Serenity Smiles, we feel your pain and are here to tell you that you don’t have to suffer.
Common Causes of Sensitivity
You already know that enamel is what protects your teeth. When the enamel is worn down or compromised, the dentin (a less dense protective layer) can allow hot, cold, or acidic foods to reach the nerves, resulting in pain. Dentin can also be exposed when the gums have receded. What are some of the causes?
- Cavities or worn down fillings
- Compromised tooth enamel
- A fractured tooth
- An exposed tooth root
- Receded gums
- Teeth whitening
Put a Stop To Sensitivity
Because a number of conditions can cause tooth sensitivity, it’s important to visit your dentist for an official diagnosis and effective treatment. Below are just some of the treatments that may be recommended:
- Fillings, crowns, onlays, or bonding may be used to cover a cavity or other flaw that may be the cause of your sensitivity.
- Desensitizing toothpaste or an in-office fluoride gel may be used to prevent sensation from reaching the nerve and, in the case of fluoride, strengthen tooth enamel.
- A surgical gum graft will restore gum tissue so that the dentin beneath your gums will no longer be exposed.
- A root canal is often used if your sensitivity is severe. Because local anesthesia is used during the procedure, root canals are painless (and a far better alternative so suffering from tooth pain).
An Ounce of Prevention …
The good news is that, like many dental concerns, tooth sensitivity can be prevented. Here are a few tips that will help keep the pain at bay:
- Keep up with your dental hygiene. Cavities are caused by tooth decay and receded gums can be the result of gum disease; if you brush after every meal, floss daily, and see your dentist at least twice a year, your teeth and gums are more likely to stay healthy and pain-free.
- Avoid chewing on ice, hard candies, or other things that might chip or crack your teeth. Use a straw when you’re drinking an iced beverage to avoid the temptation to chew and do your best to suck on hard candies instead of bite.
Be sure to wear a mouthguard while engaging in sports or other physical activities to minimize the chances of cracking or chipping your teeth.
Whether you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity or are simply looking for a new dental practice to call home, contact Reston Serenity Smiles to schedule an appointment. We serve patients from Reston, Virginia and the surrounding communities.