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.