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Teeth Sensitivity: What Is It and How to Treat It

Does eating ice cream make you cringe? Is drinking hot tea or coffee hurting your teeth? You may have tooth sensitivity.

In this post, we explain what tooth sensitivity is and what causes it. Read on to find out more about this common issue.

What Is Teeth Sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity is brief discomfort or pain in one or more teeth as a response to cold or hot stimuli. You can experience it each time you eat cold foods like ice cream, and yogurt from the fridge, or drink a smoothie made with ice cubes.

You can also experience it as a response to warm foods like soup, dishes hot from the oven or microwave, or hot drinks.

Foods that are rich in sugar or acidic can also cause food sensitivity pain. These include candies, juice, ice cream, alcoholic drinks, and coffee.

You may experience tooth sensitivity each time you consume one of these foods, or only sometimes. Cold, windy weather may also make tooth sensitivity worse.

What Causes Teeth Sensitivity?

teeth-sensitivity-mississauga-dentist-listOccasional tooth sensitivity is normal. Drinking icy lemonade on a hot summer’s day can make many people feel some tooth discomfort. Same with taking an eager bite from an ice cream cone.
But if tooth sensitivity is a recurring problem, it can be a sign of enamel damage.

Enamel is the outer covering of the tooth. It’s the hardest tissue in your body, but it can become damaged over time. Oral bacteria that feed on sugar and acids in soft drinks are two major causes of enamel erosion.

Enamel erosion exposes the dentin layer underneath to thermal and other stimuli, causing sharp pain and other discomforts.

Common causes of tooth sensitivity include:

  • Cavities or holes in your teeth caused by bacteria
  • Tooth damage, such as a cracked or chipped tooth
  • Tooth root that is exposed
  • Gum disease

Depending on the extent of the tooth damage, tooth sensitivity may become worse over time. While everyone may experience some tooth sensitivity sometimes, if it’s a regular occurrence, you should see a dentist.

Teeth sensitivity can be a warning sign of a more serious dental problem, such as a cavity or tooth damage. Addressing it earlier can make the treatment easier and reduce dental costs.

How Are Sensitive Teeth Treated?

teeth-sensitivity-mississauga-dentist-checkThe best treatment for sensitive teeth depends on the underlying cause. For example, if a cavity is to blame, your dentist may recommend a filling/restoration.
Other dental treatments for sensitive teeth can include:

  • Fluoride treatment – Your dentist may reduce pain and strengthen the enamel by applying fluoride to sensitive areas.
  • Desensitizing – Your dentist may apply bonding resin to exposed root surfaces causing the sensitivity.
  • Root canal – When other treatments don’t work, your dentist may remove teeth sensitivity by treating problems in the dental pulp, the soft core of the teeth.
  • Gum grafts – When it’s caused by lost gum tissue, your dentist may take gum from healthy parts in your mouth and apply it to the sensitive area to protect exposed roots.

How to Care for Sensitive Teeth

While waiting for your dental appointment, there are a few things you can do to minimize discomfort from sensitive teeth.

  • Avoid hot, cold, and acidic foods. Skip on the ice cream, alcohol, and fizzy drinks. Drink tea instead of coffee, and let it cool down first. Avoid hot meals.
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Brushes with medium or hard bristles can worsen enamel damage.
  • Brush your teeth gently. Apply less pressure on your teeth when brushing them. Clean them with gentle, circular motions.
  • Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Toothpaste for sensitive teeth works by covering or filling up exposed enamel with potassium nitrate or another substance. It can also desensitize any nerves exposed through the dentin. So that even if it’s more expensive than regular toothpaste, it may be a good investment.

Teeth Sensitivity in Mississauga – The Wrap Up

Tooth sensitivity can be unpleasant, but there’s a lot you can do to address it. The first step is to schedule an appointment with your dentist, in Mississauga, to understand what’s causing it.

Experiencing teeth sensitivity? Call Karen Dental in Mississauga. We can schedule an appointment to review your teeth sensitivity as well as your dental health.