This is Dr. Sandy and today, I’m going to talk about sensitive teeth and some at home solutions that can help you out immediately. sensitive teeth affects millions of people every single day. It can wake you up at night shock you and you’re eating your favorite ice cream and it can be really difficult to resolve. So what’s up? Why are the teeth so sensitive and what can we do about it?
Teeth can be sensitive through a variety of ways, including deep cavities and a heavy bite, but today I want to focus on sensitivity caused by a recession. This involves a process where your gums recede, exposing a very sensitive part of your tooth and typically recession, is caused by a history of periodontal disease or aggressive brushing habits. To understand why this particular area of the tooth is so sensitive. We need to look at basic dental Anatomy.
In general, our teeth are composed of hard enamel porous dentin in a pulp chamber which keeps our tooth alive. As our gums recede, our tooth becomes less protected by that hard enamel, making it more sensitive to hot and cold. As a practicing dentist, I see patients with sensitive teeth every single day and the most important step is to figure out the cause. This involves looking at radiographs, evaluating occlusion, checking the gums and asking important questions about at-home habits. This information helps me develop a solution that works.
For some people, this means controlling a highly acidic intra oral environment, caused by diet or other medical conditions For others, this means simply adjusting their bite, but for sensitivity caused by recession. I always start with a change in toothpaste. We use toothpaste every single day and it can have a major impact on how we look and feel. Some toothpastes are dedicated to preventing cavities some to whiten teeth and some help those with sensitivity.
Desensitizing toothpaste, like Sensodyne, have ingredients that help with sensitivity caused by recession. The two main ingredients you will see in these products are Stannous Fluoride and Potassium Nitrate. Both of them help in slightly different ways. Potassium nitrate prevents the nerves in your teeth, from sending pain signals to the brain. On the other hand, stannous fluoride works like a shield forming a layer over dentin and preventing stimuli from interacting with the nerve. So one makes the nerve less likely to fire a pain response and one blocks the stimuli from even reaching the nerve.
And if you have any questions regarding the details of this process, please feel free to leave it down in the comment section below. Okay, so let’s say after you have read this article, you go out to buy some desensitizing toothpaste, a couple of weeks go by and your teeth are still sensitive. What do you do? Well, one option is to have your local dentist place a protective restoration over the sensitive surface. This has been shown to be very effective at resolving sensitivity, because the exposed area is now covered.
Another option involves a surgical procedure where your gums are used to cover the exposed, sensitive area. In fact, there’s some awesome, periodontics websites that describes this techniques. But that is for another article.