Unless you have spent time looking at a diagram of the teeth, many are under the impression that the thick enamel covering goes far deeper into the tooth than it actually does.
This is important for a variety of reasons, the most striking of which is that it proves teeth can be delicate.
Not far under the enamel is the “pulp” and roots of the teeth. These substances are nerve dense and incredibly sensitive, meaning that when your enamel is compromised, you will feel it. This pain, however, is not always a sign of cavities or more serious dental problems.
Sometimes it’s simply the cause of sensitive teeth.
The good news is those sensitive teeth when managed early and with care, can become far less painful over time. Read below to learn more about what you can do to stop tooth sensitivity in its tracks.
Cause of Sensitive Teeth
To understand the cause of sensitive teeth, we need to first understand that the tooth is built in layers. These layers begin as the tough outer enamel that comprises the crown of the tooth and gets progressively softer as you travel into the tooth’s center.
As seen in the above diagram, while tooth enamel and dentin are solid and mineralized surfaces, the rest of the tooth is not. Areas like the pulp chamber, root canals, and even gumline have very little to protect tooth nerves from external stimuli. This makes it so that environmental triggers such as hot or cold beverages, sugary or acidic foods, and even gum disease can cause an incredible amount of sensitivity and tooth pain.
However, there are many ways to prevent tooth sensitivity, especially when underlying causes such as gum disease and tooth decay are ruled out or treated. Read below for a list of options that may work for you.
The good news about tooth sensitivity is that there are many successful home remedies that can help ease the pain of persistent sensitivity. These are generally measures that can be included in your existing oral hygiene rituals and will contribute to greater oral health overall.
One of the most common methods of easing tooth sensitivity is through the use of desensitizing toothpaste. These are toothpastes which contain a variety of desensitizing agents such as Metal Ions, Potassium, and Oxalates.
While desensitizing toothpastes take several uses to start taking effect, many find that these reduce sensitivity over sustained daily use.
A 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water is a common and effective oral antiseptic. Through using this as a mouth rinse, you not only reduce the likelihood of cavities and stains on the tooth surface, but also reduce inflammation overall.
Salt Water Rise
Similar in qualities to hydrogen peroxide, salt water rinses can be a powerful antiseptic and anti-inflammatory tool. However, unlike peroxide, there is often no added benefit of mild whitening.
For individuals who experience more severe or widespread pain than cannot be managed through other methods, there are several types of sensitivity treatments you can receive in-office to help reduce pain.
While fluoride is a common additive in many toothpastes, sometimes a more intense treatment is needed to better protect the teeth. In these cases, you can ask your dentist to apply a strong fluoride gel as part of your cleaning to help act as a buffer for the surface of your tooth. As an added bonus, this gel also prevents cavities by helping remineralize the surface of the tooth.
For individuals who experience most of their sensitivity at the gum line, the cause is normally exposed tooth roots that come along with gum recession. This is caused either by age-related gum shrinkage or brushing too hard.
In either situation, a dentist may recommend reconstructing or sealing the gum tissue to better protect the roots of your teeth. In extreme cases, a surgical gum graft may be recommended to better build up and secure the remaining gums around your teeth.
When a sensitivity is local to a single tooth and caused by underlying conditions such as cracks or decay, it might be time to either perform a root canal or extract the tooth. Which option is best depends on your exact situation and should be discussed with your dentist.
Dental Experts in Mesa, Arizona
Taking care of your body starts with good oral hygiene. Unfortunately, even with the perfect routine, dental sensitivity can occur. As such, it’s important to have a trusted dental professional to help recommend the best symptom management for you.
At EVDP, we want to make sure you and your family have access to the best dental care in the valley to ward off preventable illness. Established in the 1980s, EVDP is a trusted community staple for many generations of clients.
If you need a simple cleaning or perhaps are looking for more extensive care, don’t hesitate to give us a call at: 480-838-3033