How is that something as seemingly harmless as a sip of hot coffee or even a bite of soft-serve ice cream can cause such discomfort for your teeth? Sensitive teeth affect an estimated one out of every twelve Americans, creating a very real challenge for both their hygiene and their diet. Before you can treat or prevent sensitivity, it helps to understand what causes the problem.
Sensitivity vs. Toothaches
Not all dental discomfort is alike. A toothache generally strikes only one tooth at a time, usually as the result of an infection or decay within. The appropriate treatment for a toothache can be anything from a filling or crown to a more involved procedure, such as root canal therapy. On the other hand, sensitivity will usually affect several teeth, especially those in a certain area of the mouth.
Common Causes Behind Sensitive Teeth
Most cases of sensitivity occur as the result of exposed nerves within the tooth. Your tooth enamel is the primary barrier between these nerves and the outside world. When the enamel is no longer as thick and healthy as it should be, these nerves are unprotected. However, some people have teeth that are naturally more sensitive than others. Either way, treatment usually involves rebuilding the tooth enamel and fortifying the tooth against the elements, as well as against bacteria, debris, and other threats. We can achieve this in a number of ways:
- Fluoride treatment: Fluoride treatments and supplements help strengthen weak or damaged tooth enamel. Although many public drinking water supplies are fluoridated, someone who exclusively drinks bottled water may not reap the benefits.
- Products for sensitive teeth: You will find many oral care products that are specially formulated for people who have sensitive teeth. These can include everything from mouthwash to toothpaste, and most are available in the toothpaste aisle of your drugstore.
- Regular dental appointments: Cleaning and exams ensure that your teeth are in optimal health at all times. If we detect signs of erosion or damage to your teeth, we can begin to treat the problem before it becomes more uncomfortable.
About Your Shrewsbury General Dentists
At Modern Dentistry, Todd A. Pizzi, DDS, and Luciana Messina, DDS, are dedicated to providing high-quality cosmetic, restorative, and preventive dentistry services to patients and families in Shrewsbury, Worcester, North and South Grafton, Westborough, Southborough, Northborough, Boylston, Hopkinton, Millbury, and all surrounding communities. To schedule your next appointment, contact our office by calling (508) 842-8838 today.