If a cold banana sundae or a steaming cup of tea causes pain in your teeth, you might be suffering from a condition called “sensitive teeth.” Or, if your teeth hurt naturally, perhaps more so when you awake or as you chew, these too can be symptomatic of tooth sensitivity. Yet, most of us are not novices to tooth pain, seeing as we’ve experienced it in one form or another.
Still, consistent tooth sensitivity can be a hindrance to daily life. But worry not, as it’s almost always 100% treatable. So, what are the best types of tooth sensitivity treatment? And how will they alleviate the sensitivity?
Hint: tooth sensitivity’s #1 enemy is proper oral hygiene.
Tooth Sensitivity Causes and Treatment
Our teeth contain a protective layer called enamel, a word your dentist has likely introduced to you. But enamel is just one part of the picture. In which case, see below for overall tooth structure2.
- Enamel – Enamel is the topmost protective layer of the tooth, protecting the crowns of your healthy teeth.
- Cementum – Cementum is a layer threaded beneath enamel, which protects the tooth root beneath the gum line.
- Dentin – Beneath both of those is the dentin, a softer part of the tooth that contains tubules (microscopic canals).
But why is this important? Because, if the enamel and cementum are compromised, the dentin no longer has its shield. It’s the equivalent of knights walking into battle without their armor. This, of course, means extreme vulnerability2.
An Exposed Dentin
If the dentin is exposed, then those canals will allow particles, as well as heat and cold, to activate the nerves inside the tooth2. This, of course, is the birthplace of dentin hypersensitivity. The nerves in your teeth are what cause the discomfort, which typically occurs when:
- You drink cold fluids
- You drink hot fluids
- You ingest acidic foods/liquids
- You chew
- You breathe through your mouth
- Or when your teeth are idle (unexposed to anything)
If you’re experiencing these signs and symptoms of tooth sensitivity, you need your knights to reclaim their armor. In dental language, this means you need to protect your enamel and dentin to mitigate risk of periodontal disease and receding gums.
Luckily, it’s a lot easier than it sounds. Sometimes it’s as easy as upping your brush and floss routine. Other times, it’s a bit more involved.
The Best Tooth Sensitivity Treatment
Firstly, while tooth sensitivity is usually a temporary problem that you can use home remedies and pointed efforts to mitigate, there could be an underlying issue which requires professional attention. Thus, when it comes to treatment, our first piece of advice is always:
Go See A Dentist!
There are multiple causes for tooth sensitivity. It could be as mundane as your diet, to an open crevice in your tooth that requires a root canal (although this is typically a different sort of pain). In which case, if your symptoms are persistent, severe, or a cause of concern, we advise that you receive an evaluation from a dental professional.
Not only will the dentist be able to identify the issue, but they might also help you streamline all the treatments below, some of which are dentist-specific. Or, they’ll take the corrective measures (like a filling) to nip the problem in the bud.
Protect Your Enamel | Curb Your Sensitivity
You still might be frustrated and asking yourself: why do I have tooth sensitivity and how can I avoid it? Protecting your enamel is how you avoid tooth sensitivity, but the same practices can also thwart the problem once it’s started.
- Change Your Diet – When it comes to protecting your enamel, diet is a major factor; specifically, acidic foods or drinks. Thus, it’s paramount that you stay away or limit your ingestion of:
- Soda/Carbonated Drinks – These types of substances contain high acidity levels, meaning they burrow into the crevices of your teeth and can cause decay.
- Sour Candy/Candy– Sticky and sour candy are usually the biggest cause of concern, but tons of other candies are highly acidic too. They can cause tooth decay.
- Potato Chips – High in starch, which breaks down into sugars once stuck in the teeth, potato chips can feed the bacteria and cause plaque buildup, thus weakening the enamel.
- Dried Fruits – Dried fruits, while delicious, can burrow into the crevices of your teeth. Despite being fruit, they’re high in sugar, which means they can motivate plaque buildup.
Being that these types of foods stimulate the tooth’s pulp, by limiting their ingestion you mitigate the chances of fostering sensitivity. Additionally, if you eat/drink any of the above, it’s always important to floss and rinse your mouth directly afterwards. Diet change alone can help treat tooth sensitivity.
- Brush & Floss Regularly – Your parents and your dentist didn’t badger you to brush and floss your teeth because they wanted to be annoying. They did it to ensure your teeth matured into healthy and prosperous bones! By keeping a consistent oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing, you remove any trapped particles, plaque buildup, and protect your enamel. With that being said:
The way in which you brush can be the cause of your sensitive teeth. So, try and:
- Brush Softer – Sometimes, people have a heavy hand. They brush too hard along their gumline, rupturing them and causing inflammation. This could be one of the reasons your teeth are sensitive! Thus, massage your teeth with your brush rather than applying full force.
- Use A Softer Brush – Sometimes, a brushes’ bristles are just too stiff. By using a brush with softer bristles, you’re still able to clean your teeth… you’re just protecting your sensitive gum line in the process!
- Water Floss –It could also be that you’re flossing too aggressively or that your gum tissue is naturally sensitive. Thus, consider using a water floss to ease the output and curb your sensitive teeth (not to mention protect you enamel by ridding all those pesky microbe squatters trying to live in your teeth!)
Here at ToothShower, we offer a water flosser that allows you to control the pressure and temperature. For those dealing with sensitive teeth, our water flosser can help protect your enamel and ease the flossing process (this is specially relevant for those that experience discomfort or pain when flossing).
- Desensitizing Toothpaste – A treatment for teeth sensitivity best guided by a dentist, desensitizing toothpaste uses certain compounds that act as roadblocks for sensation moving from the enamel to the tooth’s pulp (its nerve). It usually takes a few applications before yielding its promised efficacy but can be a fantastic treatment option if used correctly5.
If you are going to attempt to find your own version of toothpaste, ensure that it’s ADA (American Dental Association) certified—also known as the Seal of Acceptance. This is both for the quality and safety of the product2.
Other Tooth Sensitivity Treatment Options
If the above treatments do not yield any results and you’re still feeling discomfort, the cause of your problem could require a consultation from a dental professional or involved procedures. Thus:
- Fluoride Gel | Prescribed Agents – Your dentist might apply fluoride gel or other agents to the affected areas. These can help reinforce the enamel and ease the sensitivity. Generally, this is a noninvasive treatment.
- Bonding Agents – If the cause of your discomfort is root exposure, your dentist might have to bond the area to close any exposed holes. This will then block any passages that are currently allowing the nerve to be stimulated.
- Crown or Filling – Your tooth sensitivity might be due to cavities, which are easily remedied by filling the crevice or placing a crown over the exposed teeth.
- Root Canal – If all other measures are exercised and then exhausted, a root canal may be the option that finally provides relief. This surgery involves a dental surgeon removing the nerve that is causing sensitivity. Do note that this is typically a corrective measure when the sensitivity is severe, causing constant pain and affecting a person’s quality of life.
Again, these treatments are typically reserved for those with moderate to severe sensitivity. That’s why, should you be experiencing harsh symptoms, you should consult a dentist immediately.
A Clenched Jaw or Fluorosis
There a few other causes of tooth sensitivity that are worth mentioning, being that their treatments can differ from the above. The first of which is:
If someone experiences TMJ, a disorder in which their jaw is constantly clenching, or if they are constantly grinding their teeth at night, this pressure can upset the gums, leaving the person’s teeth sensitive throughout the day. Thus, a dentist can recommend a:
- Mouthguard – This will help the wearer protect their teeth if they’re “a grinder,” thus protecting the gum tissue and mitigating any sensitivity.
Fluorosis is when the hypomineralization of tooth enamel is caused by excessive ingestion of fluoride while the enamel is in its maturity. It’s been clinically proven that people with fluorosis tend to have a higher propensity for sensitive teeth than those without3.
It’s easily identified, seeing as it forms as white spots on the tooth itself. If you have fluorosis and you’re experiencing hypersensitivity, it’s important that you let your dentist know, being that people with moderate to severe fluorosis typically have weaker enamel.
Treatment for Teeth Sensitivity
Treatment for teeth sensitivity isn’t straightforward, but it’s not necessarily complex, either. For some reason, your dentin is likely vulnerable, allowing the elements and particles to stimulate your tooth’s nerve.
Still, good oral hygiene and delicate brushing can often drastically solve or at least reduce tooth sensitivity. For that reason, we recommend that you take a look at this water flosser, being that it can help improve your oral care, thus assisting mitigate your sensitive teeth! Best yet, you can do it from the convenience of your shower, so the process is hassle-free!
This is just one of the many steps you can take to help protect your enamel and up your oral hygiene regimen. Remember, if you’re worried or the symptoms are severe, seek out the help of a dentist immediately.
- Mayo Clinic. What Causes Sensitive Teeth, And How Can I Treat Them?
- ADA. Sensitive Teeth Causes and Treatment
- US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Tooth Sensitivity in Fluorotic Teeth.
- LiveScience. Tooth Sensitivity: Causes, Remedies & Treatment
- BDJ. Clinical Study to Monitor Dentinal Hypersensitivity with Episodic Use of a Desensitizing Dentifrice
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