The moment you take a bite of that delicious chocolate ice cream you feel it…that nagging, piercing pain shooting through your tooth. Grabbing your lip, you cringe. While contemplating trying to eat the ice cream on the other side of your mouth, the thought quickly dissipates as you continue to experience the effects of your most recent bite. Tooth sensitivity is a common problem for many adults in the United States, but why? What causes your pearly whites to feel fine one minute and then have you pushing away anything hot or cold the next? To find out, hear from a dentist who explains its causes and what can be done to address it.
What Can Cause Tooth Sensitivity?
Whether you’re eating hot soup, drinking ice water, or attempting to brush your teeth in the morning, these activities and food items can irritate sensitive teeth and leave you in pain. Common dental problems such as exposed tooth roots, worn enamel, or a cavity can be the reason for this new and unwelcome pain, but so can the following:
- A chipped or cracked tooth
- A filling that is worn
- Gum disease
No matter the reason for your sensitive teeth, it is important that you schedule an appointment to see your dentist sooner rather than later. After all, you do want to get back to enjoying ice cream again, right?
How a Dentist Can Help Your Sensitive Teeth
During your appointment, your dentist will need to examine the problem area to determine the exact cause of your tooth sensitivity. Based on his findings, there are various procedures and treatments that may be suggested, including:
- Fluoride Treatment: This common, painless, and quick application is available for both children and adults because of its tremendous benefits. By applying topical fluoride to the sensitive areas of your teeth, it will not only strengthen your tooth enamel, but it will also alleviate pain. If necessary, your dentist may even suggest using prescription fluoride at home that can be applied using a customized tray.
- Surgical Gum Graft: This may not sound pleasant, but if your gums are receding and tooth roots are exposed, your dentist might consider performing a gum graft, which involves removing a small bit of gum tissue from another area of your mouth and attaching it to the affected tooth.
- Dental Bonding: If the root surface of your tooth is exposed, a composite resin can be bonded to this particular area, reducing sensitivity.
- Root Canal: Oftentimes, if no other procedure is proving effective, and the pain and sensitivity continue to be a problem, a root canal can remove any areas of the tooth’s pulp (the innermost layer) and fill it with composite resin. This will eliminate tooth sensitivity and have you back to your regular self in no time.
Another beneficial product that your dentist might suggest you use at home is a desensitizing toothpaste. With multiple applications, it can block the pain that comes with sensitive teeth. Your dentist can suggest which brand to buy, which will most likely be found at your local drug or grocery store.