Let’s paint the picture. You’ve just gotten home after a long day dealing with frigid winter temperatures. All you want to do is warm up with a nice, hot cup of cocoa with some tiny marshmallows. You’ve fixed it all up, and you’re ready for that nice warmth to wash over you, when suddenly, intense pain runs throughout your teeth. This is a sure sign of sensitive teeth, and it doesn’t just flare up with hot beverages. Cold drinks and sweet treats can be the bane of sensitive teeth, too. When you have sensitive teeth, life can feel pretty miserable. With that in mind, we here at Mid Atlantic Family Dentistry have gathered up eight of the causes of tooth sensitivity, along with some solutions that may help you out. Call us if you are dealing with sensitivity issues today.
A common cause of tooth sensitivity is a diet with a high level of acidity. Your teeth are protected by tooth enamel, but that wears away as we get older. There are many other things that can wear enamel down, including aggressive tooth brushing and dental diseases. As that enamel is worn away, teeth become less protected, and therefore, more susceptible to dental problems, like sensitivity. A highly acidic diet that includes things, like fruit juice, tomato sauce, and vinegar (to name a few) can wreak havoc on teeth with worn enamel, resulting in sensitivity issues.
The ADA recommends that you visit your dentist two times a year to ensure your teeth are in good health. Additionally, there are dental hygiene products that can help support the longevity and strength of tooth enamel. If you believe this was caused by an overly acidic diet, it’s a good idea to try replacing or minimizing those acidic foods in your diet.
Many people have the thought that, the more they brush their teeth, the longer they brush, and the harder they brush, the better they are doing at maintaining their oral hygiene. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The reality is that over-brushing your teeth can have a destructive effect on your oral hygiene. When you brush too much or too hard, the enamel is stripped away. Additionally, it can cause recession of the gums, which can also lead to tooth sensitivity issues.
The old saying, “Everything in moderation,” couldn’t be more true here. While we can absolutely appreciate the effort you’re putting into keeping your teeth healthy, stick with a consistent brushing schedule two to three times a day. If you have been brushing after every meal, try a sugar-free gum instead. There are also electric toothbrushes that can tell you if you’re brushing too hard or too long if you think one of those may be your issue.
Gingivitis and periodontitis (commonly referred to as gum disease) are both inflammatory conditions that affect the tissues, which provide support for teeth. When you don’t have good oral hygiene habits, plaque builds up and the bacteria within start to cause trouble. The bacteria begins by eating away at gum tissue, which can result in gingival recession, exposing parts of a tooth that should otherwise be protected.
The number one thing to focus on when dealing with sensitivity caused by gum disease is, naturally, the gum disease. In a situation like this, your dentist will typically recommend a special cleaning, called scaling and root planing, which gets rid of built-up plaque and bacteria. After that has been completed, proper oral hygiene practices will need to be adopted to avoid recurrence. If the gingival recession is severe enough, you may require a soft tissue graft to replace missing gum tissue. While this is an effective treatment, it can be quite costly.
Have you heard of bruxism? That’s the technical term used to describe teeth grinding. Typically occurring during sleep, it is an unnatural grinding and clenching of the teeth. Teeth grinding can be brought on by many different things, such as stress, bite irregularities, and sleep disorders. If over-brushing wears down your teeth, just imagine what grinding them together night after night can do. If it’s not dealt with quickly; the enamel can wear away, exposing dentin and resulting in tooth sensitivity issues.
Many treatments are available to help overcome teeth grinding, though, which one is the most effective will depend on the cause. You can obtain custom-fitted bite plates or mouth guards to protect your teeth from grinding in your sleep. An Orthodontist will be able to assist you with treating a bite irregularity. If the damage has already been done, restorative dental treatments, like dental crowns, can help to replace teeth that have been damaged beyond repair.
There are more causes of tooth sensitivity that we will be covering in the near future, but we hope this helps you determine what could be causing your teeth so much pain. If you’re in need of help with your tooth sensitivity, call Dr. Burchman in Langhorne to schedule your appointment today!