Youch! You were looking forward to a bowl of ice cream all day, but as soon as you took your first bite, all you felt was a wave of pain throughout one of your teeth. Dental sensitivity is a very common issue many people face every day, but what causes it? Are there ways you can stop this sensitivity so you can enjoy your hot and cold treats in peace? Thankfully, with the help of a dentist in Westport, your sensitive teeth can quickly become a distant memory.
Why Teeth Can Become Sensitive
There are a variety of factors that can lead to a tooth developing sensitivity to certain temperatures:
- Tooth decay/cavities: When acidic plaque is allowed to sit on the teeth for too long, it can actually create a small hole in the enamel, better known as a cavity. This removes the protective layer that encases the delicate nerve of a tooth, exposing it to outside temperatures and causing it to feel discomfort.
- Fractured teeth: Even a small, microscopic crack in a tooth can lead to sensitivity as well because it leaves the nerve unprotected.
- Worn fillings: As fillings age, gaps can form around them. This space can allow hot or cold temperatures to reach the dental nerve and overstimulate it.
- Worn tooth enamel: If your enamel has thinned because of over-rigorous brushing or natural aging, this can also make your teeth more sensitive to certain temperatures.
- Exposed tooth root: The enamel around the roots of your teeth is much thinner compared to the crowns. If you are experiencing gum recession due to gum disease, this can expose this tender enamel and make it easier for the underlying nerve to become affected by temperatures.
How Your Dentist Can Help
Fortunately, sensitive teeth don’t have to stay that way forever. Your dentist can offer you a variety of solutions that are proven to lessen sensitivity and strengthen enamel:
- Sensitive tooth toothpaste: This can be found in pretty much every store, and it works by slightly numbing the underlying nerve to make it less responsive to stimuli.
- Fluoride gel: If your sensitivity is due to thinned enamel, your dentist can briefly coat your teeth in a highly-concentrated fluoride gel to build it back up.
- Dental crowns/fillings: These restorations are used to repair cavities and rebuild the enamel in order to keep the nerve protected.
- Root canal: Sometimes, dental sensitivity may be a sign that the nerve itself has developed an infection, in which case a root canal is needed to remove it. Thankfully, this procedure is safe, painless, and can be completed in just one visit.
- Gum graft: For gum recession, a gum graft can help restore your normal gum line and cover the enamel around the roots of your teeth. Your dentist may refer you to a specialist to have this completed.
Needless to say, sensitive teeth are extremely annoying, but a solution can be easily found at your dentist’s office. Before you wince in pain the next time you take a healthy bite of Rocky Road, be sure to pay them a visit, and your teeth will thank you!
About the Author
Dr. Masha Kogan is a family, restorative, and cosmetic dentist who has been practicing in Westport for nearly 20 years. She sees patients with sensitive teeth every single day, and she’s more than able to offer a variety of solutions that can make the pain go away and stay away. For more information on everything you’ve just read, she can be reached for questions through her website.