04 Mar 2016 Tooth Sensitivity and What To Do About It
Tooth sensitivity can range from a minor irritation when eating certain foods to something that is constantly painful. What many people don’t realize is that there are multiple options for treating tooth sensitivity that don’t involve avoiding hot or cold food, acidic food, or sweets.
In a healthy mouth, the teeth are protected by enamel above the gum line, and cementum under the gum line. These protective layers are very dense, and cover up the next protective layer of dentin. Dentin is less dense, and covers the nerve endings inside the tooth. If the enamel or cementum are worn away, or if the gums are receding and exposing more tooth surface, food can reach the nerve endings much more easily, and things like heat, cold, or acid can cause a temporary tooth ache. Some other things that can cause sensitivity include cavities, old or worn out fillings, fractured teeth, or gingivitis.
Luckily, sensitive teeth can treated. It is important to talk with a dentist, to make sure that you’re treating the right cause of your tooth aches. For example, treating your gums won’t help your sensitivity if the problem is actually a worn filling. Some possible treatments include:
- Toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Desensitizing toothpaste contains compounds that help block the pain signals coming from the tooth.
- Fluoride treatments. If your tooth enamel is weak, an in-office fluoride gel treatment can help strengthen it.
- A crown, filling, or bonding. All of these are procedures a dentist can do if your teeth are fractured, weak, or if you have a cavity causing your pain. A crown is a tooth-shaped covering that is cemented over your entire damaged tooth. A filling can be metal or ceramic, and fills in cavities or fractures in your teeth. And dental bonding is a procedure where the dentist applies a tooth colored resin directly onto the surface of your teeth, giving them more strength.
- A gum graft. This is a surgical procedure that will help if your sensitivity and pain are being caused by a receding gumline. Tissue is taken from elsewhere in your mouth, usually the roof, and grafted over the weak spots to cover up the exposed roots.
- A root canal. When no other treatment options are working, a root canal can be performed. This procedure removes the nerves and pulp of the tooth, and fills in the space. Depending on the situation, the tooth may also need a crown to provide strength.
If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity or tooth aches, talk to your dentist about which treatment options are best for your situation. At Holladay Family Dental we are happy to answer any additional questions you may have. Call us at 801-272-8051 to setup an appointment. We are a family practice and offer General Dentistry, Preventative Dentistry, and Cosmetic Dentistry services.