Step One: Determine the Cause
For those who have sensitive teeth, a scoop of cold ice cream or sip of hot coffee can be painful. But good news! The condition is treatable. It’s just a matter of determining the cause.
As with dental health in general, proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing the pain from sensitive teeth. However there are situations where additional treatment is needed. To give a little background… Healthy teeth have three layers – enamel, cementum and dentin. Enamel protects the crowns above the gum line; cementum shields the tooth root. Dentin is the least dense and last layer of defense shielding the nerves and cells within the tooth. When dentin is exposed or unprotected, pain from sensitivity can result.
So what are some of the most common causes of sensitive teeth? Tooth decay is often top on the list, followed by the wear and tear of worn fillings, eroded enamel or fractured teeth. More serious conditions, such as gum disease and tooth root exposure, may also be the basis for sensitivity. Depending on the cause, there are several treatment options dental professionals might recommend.
- Desensitizing toothpaste. Specifically created to block sensations between the tooth surface and the nerve, regular use of such toothpaste can reduce sensitivity.
- Fluoride gel. This in-office treatment strengthens tooth enamel in order to protect dentin and reduce the transmission of sensations to the nerve.
- A crown, inlay or bonding. If the cause is tooth decay or wear and tear, one of these corrective methods may be the best course of action.
- Surgical gum graft. When the root is exposed due to the loss of gum tissue, surgical grafting can be used to restore protection and reduce sensitivity.
- Root canal. This is generally the last recommended option and one that would be used in cases of severe or persistent sensitivity when other treatments have not shown results.
If you have any questions or experience such symptoms, contact Amsterdam Dental Group or your dental professional.