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All About Sensitive Teeth

When most people take a sip of a burning hot beverage, they might expect their throat and mouth to burn. And when they eat a spoonful of ice cream, they might feel the cold rush to their head and a brief case of brain freeze. But when you eat or drink something hot or cold, you might feel another unpleasant sensation.

A sudden, stabbing pain in your teeth. You might also feel the hot or cold more intensely in your teeth than in your mouth or on your tongue, which causes you to wince with pain.

If these symptoms describe you, you might suffer from sensitive teeth. In our blog below, we'll talk about some common causes of sensitive teeth. We'll also tell you how to find relief from this problem and go back to enjoying a pain-free bowl of ice cream or cup of hot tea.

Primary Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth can stem from a variety of causes. Below, we've listed some of the most common.

Recent Dental Work

Sometimes, dentistry may lead to temporarily sensitive teeth:

  • Dental visits. If you haven't visited the dentist in a long time, the dental cleaning process can cause your teeth to twinge.
  • Dental work. If you've recently had a filling, or had a crown or veneer placed, gotten braces, or had other changes made to your teeth, you can expect to experience sensitive teeth for a few hours or days afterwards.
  • Tooth whitening treatments. Chemicals like bleach can render your teeth temporarily sensitive in the hours after the treatment.

This type of tooth sensitivity doesn't last long, and shouldn't cause more than mild pain or discomfort. If the sensitivity doesn't minimize within a few days of your visit or if you experience stabbing pains, call Parkland Mall Dental Centre in Red Deer immediately. Our Red Deer dentists are open for emergency dental services.

Enamel Erosion

If you haven't had any recent dental work, chances are, something has happened to wear down your enamel. Even though enamel is your body's strongest tissue, it is surprisingly susceptible to a variety of things that can wear it away. As the enamel thins, it exposes your dentin, which has small pores that connect to your nerves. When hot, cold, or acidic things come in contact with your dentin, the dentin sends pain signals to your brain.

One of these common issues could cause your sensitive teeth:

  • Acidic foods and beverages. Soda and orange juice can wear away your teeth's enamel, which exposes the sensitive tissues underneath.
  • Aggressive tooth brushing. To preserve your teeth and gums, you should only brush gently with a soft-bristled brush. If you use a hard-bristled brush or brush too hard, you can wear away your enamel and gums, which makes your teeth feel sensitive.
  • Tooth grinding. Many people grind or clench their teeth while they sleep without knowing it. Others grind or clench their teeth during the day when they feel anxious, stressed, or angry. This eventually wears your teeth down, causing pain and sensitivity.
  • Toothpaste or mouthwash. Your toothpaste brand or mouthwash could contain acids or abrasives that wear away your enamel.

Other Causes

Other parts of your teeth besides the enamel can cause tooth sensitivity. For instance, both excessive brushing and gingivitis, or gum disease, can expose your roots. Your roots are extremely sensitive, and their exposure can cause pain and sensitivity. Tooth damage, such as a recently chipped or broken tooth, can let bacteria enter your tooth and inflame the pulp. Tooth decay, which is a deep cavity, often as a result of too much plaque, may cause the nerve in the tooth to become inflamed and this can cause sensitivity to hot and cold. Finally, tooth fractures can also cause teeth to become sensitive. Sometimes we can get small fractures in the tooth which we can’t see or feel but which are deep enough to cause sensitivity. These require a visit to the dentist to assess and treat.

Primary Treatments for Sensitive Teeth

Whatever the cause behind your sensitive teeth, you know it's not a pleasant sensation. You might start to limit your intake of your favourite foods and drinks, or you might dread your nightly tooth brushing routine. Happily, several common treatments can alleviate some of your pain. Your Red Deer dentist should be able to assess the cause behind your sensitive teeth and recommend one of the following treatments:

Switch Your Toothpaste and Mouthwash

If your sensitive teeth stem from worn away enamel, try a sensitivity toothpaste. These toothpastes can dull the pain in your teeth. You shouldn't expect major results for at least 4-6 weeks, but as you use it consistently, your sensitivity toothpaste should decrease your pain. Talk to your dentist about what brand of sensitivity toothpaste you should use.

If your mouthwash contains alcohol or abrasive chemicals, switch to a non-alcoholic, non-abrasive brand. As with toothpaste, ask your dentist which mouthwash brand he or she recommends.

Change Your Tooth Brushing Habits

First, switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush if you aren't already using one. Next, change the way you brush your teeth. Instead of gripping your toothbrush with your entire hand, hold it gently with your thumb and first two fingers. Brush gently instead of pressing down hard. Don't brush straight across your teeth. Instead, brush up and down at an angle. Finally, be particularly careful when you brush around your gum line—use soft, gentle strokes.

Use a Mouth Guard

Your Red Deer dentist should be able to tell if you grind your teeth when you sleep. If you do, he or she might prescribe a custom mouth guard that protects your teeth while you sleep. If you already know that you grind your teeth during the day, work on ways to decrease your stress.

Get a Dental Checkup

If it has been a while since your last check up, or if the pain not getting better, call Parkland Mall Dental Centre for an assessment...

Talk to Your Dentist

Now that you've read our blog, you better understand what causes sensitive teeth. Hopefully, you also feel relieved that your condition won't last forever. To learn how to treat your sensitive teeth, schedule an appointment with your Red Deer dentist at Parkland Mall Dental Centre today.