Dental hypersensitivity is one of the most common reasons why patients visit their dentist, but despite its prevalence, many sufferers have little idea how to treat their condition.
Luckily, treating sensitive teeth is usually a simple and inexpensive process. Thanks to the wide array of treatments available over the counter in pharmacies and even supermarkets, treating the condition is now easier than ever. If a visit to the dentist is required, the problem can often be resolved in as little as two visits. Here are four treatments you can try to help minimise tooth sensitivity.
1. Change Your Diet and Tooth-Care Habits
Many cases of sensitive teeth are caused by tooth erosion, which occurs when the layer of enamel protecting your teeth wears away. Often, treating sensitive teeth is as easy as stopping tooth erosion in its tracks.
The main cause of enamel decay is excess acids, which can arise due to poor diet or excessive consumption of beverages such as soft drinks and juice. Regular brushing can help clean away acids, but be careful not to brush too hard, as harsh brushing can also wear away your tooth enamel.
Another common cause of enamel decay is the excessive use of at-home teeth whitening products. Overusing these products can permanently strip your enamel away, leaving your teeth exposed to sensitivity triggers such as hot drinks or cold foods.
2. Use Special Toothpaste
Desensitising toothpastes work by shielding the nerves buried deep in your teeth from outside triggers. These toothpastes are easily available from the dental care aisle at your local supermarket, and you should use them for at least a month to see reliable results. Dentists generally recommend calcium-based toothpastes, as they usually work faster.
These toothpastes will help treat the symptoms of sensitive teeth but not the cause, so if you find that you continue to experience sensitivity or pain after a month of use, a visit to the dentist might be in order.
3. Try a Prescription Gel
If at-home treatments fail, prescription desensitising gels and mouthwashes are another way to manage sensitive teeth. Your dentist may choose to apply fluoride gel to your teeth themselves, or your dentist could give you a bottle to take and use at home.
While it is not possible to restore tooth enamel once it has been lost, fluoride helps to remineralise the remaining enamel so it can defend against sensitivity triggers. The active ingredients in fluoride gels have been clinically proven to relieve sensitivity, and in many cases, all that is required is one or two in-office applications.
4. Get Dental Surgery to Protect Sensitive Spots
Unfortunately, if the underlying cause of your sensitive teeth is more serious than simple tooth erosion, your dentist may recommend a more permanent treatment to resolve the problem. One cause of sensitive teeth that may not be cured by the previous three treatments is an exposed root due to receding gums.
One solution to this condition is a surgical gum graft. This is a relatively minor procedure that can usually be undertaken in your dentist or periodontist's office, and it involves covering the exposed root with gum tissue taken from another part of the mouth. The procedure does cause some pain, but this normally vanishes a few days after surgery.
Your dentist may also recommend a root canal if the sensitivity is particularly serious. This treatment requires more than one appointment.
Sensitive teeth can be uncomfortable and painful, especially if eating or drinking foods you love often triggers your sensitivity! If lifestyle changes and over-the-counter treatments do not alleviate your tooth sensitivity, don't delay. Make an appointment with the friendly staff at Dental Smile Clinic today.
The time has come. You brush and floss your kids' teeth every day, but it's finally time for their first official dentist appointment. You know how important it is to attend regular dentist appointments. You want your kids to have good oral health for life and don't want them to develop a fear of the dentist or feel anxiety about dental visits.
To ensure your kids have a good experience on their foundational visit to the dentist, prepare them properly before the big day.
Schedule the First Visit Early
Most experts advise that children see a dentist sometime before their first birthday. The earlier you can get your kids in to the dentist, the better. If they start early, they'll be familiar with the process and know what to expect as they get older.
However, if you missed that first early visit, it's not too late to establish good oral health for your kids. Get them in to see a dentist as soon, and as young, as possible.
Go to a Family-Friendly Dentist
What kind of dentist you choose matters. Even if you love your own dentist, they may not be right for your kids.
Choose a dentist who regularly deals with children and families. Many dentists' offices have long experience dealing with children and will happily accept appointments for the whole family. Your kids will likely have a better time if their dentist knows how to appeal to children.
Remember it's not just the dentist who will deal with your kids. Everyone from the front-office staff to the oral hygienist will also interact with your children and contribute to their first dental experience. Choose an office that knows how to make a positive first impression.
Explain Why You Go to the Dentist
Before their first visit, explain to your kids why it's important to go to the dentist. Talk, in a kidfriendly way, about how the dentist uses special tools to make their teeth squeaky clean again.
Use metaphors or imagery that are easy for kids to understand. Decide, based on your children's personalities, whether to tell them how little cavity bugs hide in their teeth and the dentist needs to clean them off, or whether to just say you need the dentist to keep teeth healthy and strong.
Tell your children what you personally like about going to the dentist. Maybe you like when the dentist polishes your teeth or takes an X-ray. Relay your own experience to give your kids a positive impression of what to expect.
Show Your Kids Positive Media
Familiarize your children with the environment and equipment they'll see at the dentist's office. Show them pictures and videos of kids at the dentist and images of the tools the dentist uses to clean their teeth. Find episodes of kid-friendly TV shows that address dental visits, and watch them with your children.
Expose your children to a variety of positive media about dental visits. If they know what things look like and what to expect before they get to the office, they'll be less intimidated by the dental environment.
Give Your Kids Something to Look Forward To
Offer your children a treat or special event for after their dentist visit. Maybe they'll get to spend a day at the zoo, or just go out for ice cream after their appointment. Give them a positive event to look forward to so they approach their first visit to the dentist with happy anticipation.
With the right preparation, you can help your kids establish a positive relationship to dentists and oral hygiene. Promote a good attitude before their first dental visit and build a healthy foundation for the rest of their lives.
From the moment you wake up to the last few minutes before you go to sleep, you're constantly on the move. You have to rush to work. You must drive your kids to and from school and extracurricular activities. And you can't forget to shop for groceries, pick up the dry cleaning and stop by the bank.
When you're on the go, you don't have the chance to prepare and pack healthy foods. In between tasks, you may only have a few minutes to grab a granola bar or stop by a nearby coffee shop for a doughnut or two.
But these sweet treats and snacks can wreak havoc on your dental health, especially when you don't have time to brush afterward. The more sugary foods you eat, the greater your risk for cavities and decay.
If you're in a rush, try grabbing these simple snacks before you step foot out the door. They only take you a minute or so to prepare, and they can keep your teeth in great shape.
1. Cheese Cubes
Although cheese tends to last best when refrigerated, string cheese, cheese cubes and cheese curds all travel well if packaged appropriately. Simply throw a stick or package in your purse or backpack, and you have a flavourful way to feed yourself (or your kids) while on the go.
Cheese is one of the best foods you can eat when you want to maintain a healthy smile. Cheese supplies plenty of vitamin D and calcium for building strong bones, and it temporarily increases your mouth's pH levels to keep cavity-causing bacteria at bay.
To read more about the benefits of cheese for your oral health, feel free to check out our previous blog .
2. Raw Almonds
Cashews, almonds, walnuts and pistachios make for the ultimate last-minute snack, as they don't require any refrigeration or preparation. You can eat them directly out of the box, bag or can, or you can set aside a reasonable portion in a travel-friendly plastic container.
Almonds offer lots of calcium for supporting teeth and nourishing healthy gum tissue. Additionally, almonds supply a hefty amount of vitamin E and can effectively regulate blood sugar levels. As a result, almonds can effectively reduce your risk for periodontal disease.
As you snack, eat nuts with care. If you try to chomp through a harder nut or de-shell the nut with your teeth, you may chip a tooth. If you worry about accidentally damaging your teeth, opt for de-shelled and chopped nuts rather than whole.
Don't Forget to Brush When You Can
These snacks are a tooth-friendly way to satisfy your hunger pangs when you're too busy to cook. But remember that even the healthiest foods still have the potential to damage teeth.
Ideally, you should brush within 30 to 60 minutes after snacking. But if you don't have the opportunity to brush, at least take a few moments to rinse your mouth with water. Water will clear away some of the lingering food particles and restore your mouth's pH balance.
And though you may be busy, don't forget to schedule an appointment with your dentist. A single appointment every six months could save you multiple dental surgeries in the future.
Chances are, you don't think about your teeth much except while practicing your daily oral hygiene routine. And even then, your mind will be busy planning your day or trying to remember last night's dream.
However, a toothache is a painful reminder of the fragility of your teeth, one which can cause disruption in your life. Even fairly mild localised pain can become distracting quickly. More major toothaches change the way you eat, speak and smile almost immediately.
Unfortunately, there're no guaranteed answers to most questions about your toothache. But in this blog, we guide you through common causes, telltale symptoms and sure signs you should see your dentist.
What Causes Toothaches?
Though your teeth have a strong outer layer of enamel, they connect to a network of sensitive oral nerves. These nerves exist inside each tooth as well as in the soft tissues of your mouth. Toothaches indicate irritation of or damage to these nerves.
Common causes of toothaches include the following:
Abscess or other oral infection
Bruxism, also called tooth grinding
Chipping or fracturing of a tooth
Lost or damaged filling, bridge or crown Untreated cavities and tooth decay
You are more likely to experience tooth-related discomfort if you have a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), frequent headaches and certain chronic diseases. Always discuss your medical history with your healthcare providers to rule out non-dental causes of tooth discomfort.
How Do Toothaches Manifest?
Toothaches can appear at any time, in patients of any age. Most patients describe a combination of one or more of the following symptoms:
Change in taste -If you have an infected tooth or section of gum tissue, you may notice a foul taste in your mouth that doesn't disappear when you eat or drink. The change usually results from wound discharge.
Headache -Your teeth, jaw and facial bones can easily be affected by each other. You may experience headaches before, during or after a toothache.
Tooth pain -Tooth pain can come in many forms, from sharp to achy and from throbbing to constant. Additionally, your tooth pain may only appear when you eat sugary or acidic foods, put pressure on your teeth or expose your teeth to heat or cold. All these pain types qualify as a toothache.
Because toothaches can result from a number of different causes, their symptoms vary. Some patients experience dull pain that comes and goes, while others report intense, focused pain over extended time periods. Take note of your symptoms before you have your appointment as these effects can help your dentist identify the cause.
When Should You See Your Dentist?
If you have brief, mild discomfort, you may get away without a trip to the dentist. However, most toothaches require professional evaluation and treatment for them to disappear.
You should see your dentist as soon as possible if you experience any of the following:
Difficulty opening your mouth, chewing or speaking
Discomfort lasting for two or more days
Earaches or localised discomfort around the ears
Extreme pain, even if you only feel it intermittently
Inability to properly care for your teeth due to the pain
Visible changes to your teeth, gums or oral tissues
If you develop fever, lightheadedness or other sudden and serious symptoms, seek medical attention from your general practitioner or from an emergency dentist. These symptoms may indicate infection or a different pain source, such as an advanced sinus infection.
If you have a history of tooth sensitivity, decay or aches, bring up your concerns during your next appointment at Dental Smile Clinic. Your dentist can develop a hygiene, appointment and procedure plan based on your specific circumstances. With some simple proactive measures, you should be able to avoid most future toothaches.
Most people have been advised many times to visit the dentist every six months. However, some people still don't visit the dentist regularly. Even if you practice excellent oral hygiene care at home, you should still see a dentist on a regular basis.
Missing only a couple of dental check-ups likely won't cause permanent damage to your teeth. However, if you frequently skip these oral exams, here are some reasons to break the habit. Disease Prevention
Dental check-ups usually involve cleaning and polishing your teeth. Without this regular cleaning, bacteria and tartar may build up in your mouth. Over time, this tartar build-up can irritate gum tissue and result in gum disease.
When you visit the dentist, your dental hygienist will mostly likely use an ultrasonic dental instrument or hand scaler to remove tartar from your teeth. This process is one of the only ways to remove tartar. You simply cannot remove it by only flossing or brushing.
After the dental hygienist cleans your teeth, he or she will examine your gums and teeth for signs of potential complications. Many dental issues won't cause pain or become apparent until they enter advanced stages. This examination helps prevent health and dental complications because your dentist is trained to catch early signs of complications.
If you visit the dentist regularly, you can take care of potential dental and health issues before they become serious.
Some possible health complications that have possible oral symptoms include:
Heart disease. Early signs of heart disease include loose teeth and inflamed gums. In addition, bacteria near your gums may spread to other parts of the body if you have gum disease. Once bacteria enter your body, they can form clots or plaque in your arteries. Diabetes . Though poor oral health doesn't cause diabetes, this health condition causes issues in your mouth such as bleeding gums, gum disease, and loose teeth.
Osteoporosis. Although this disease doesn't affect your teeth, it can alter the bones that support your teeth. Your dentist may identify osteoporosis by loose teeth and receded gum lines.
Eating disorder. Dentists may notice signs of an eating disorder if a patient has a dry mouth and bleeding gums. Poor nutrition can also cause the insides of the front teeth to erode.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When inside tooth enamel begins to erode, it can indicate GERD. GERD causes erosion throughout the oesophagus and may lead to oesophageal cancer. If your dentist detects early signs of GERD, notify your doctor as well.
If your dentist notices signs of these health issues, he or she may recommend a treatment plan or refer you to a specialist for further treatment.
Regular cleanings can sometimes be vital in preventing major health problems. For instance, people who regularly have their teeth cleaned are at a 24% lower risk to experience a heart attack and 13% lower risk of experiencing a stroke.
How Often Should You Visit the Dentist?
Most people only need to visit the dentist twice a year to maintain proper oral hygiene. Others may need to visit the dentist more frequently. For instance, people who have a high risk for developing periodontitis may need to visit the dentist every few months.
Never go longer than 18 months without visiting the dentist. Otherwise, you could develop more serious issues that may be more difficult and costly to treat. Talk with your dentist to determine a good schedule for you.
Your dental health is an important element of your overall health. Don't neglect the importance of regularly visiting your dentist. If you're due for a check-up, call your dentist to schedule your appointment today. When you regularly visit the dentist, you keep your teeth on the path for optimal health.