How to Deal with Tooth Sensitivity

Nobody wants to deal with tooth pain. When it occurs, it takes over just about every other sense you have, leading you to only focusing on the pain itself. While for some, tooth pain only occurs very occasionally, others have to deal with it on a more regular basis, especially those with tooth sensitivity. 

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity usually happens due to erosion that exposes the dentin, leading to sensitivity. Here are some of the common causes of this: 

  • Gum recession (when the gum pulls away from your teeth)
  • Gum disease
  • Grinding of the teeth (bruxism)
  • Cracked/broken teeth
  • Brushing teeth too hard 
  • Recent dental treatment
  • Acidic foods
  • Teeth whitening

Signs You Have Tooth Sensitivity 

Most people know they have tooth sensitivity. It might have been something they’ve experienced their whole lives, or it might be something they developed over the years. Still, it’s important to know the signs to look out for, as you may mistake it for another form of toothache. 

  • Sensitivity to Temperature
  • People with sensitive teeth usually feel discomfort when their teeth experience a temperature change. That might include when they’re out in the cold or when they drink either hot or cold beverages/foods. If you find eating ice cream uncomfortable, for example, that’s a big sign you might have sensitive teeth. 

  • Sensitivity to Particular Foods 
  • If you experience pain only from certain foods, such as sweet, hot, cold, or acidic foods, that might be a sign of tooth sensitivity. 

  • Sharp Pain 
  • Usually, the pain from sensitive teeth is very sharp and doesn’t last too long, whereas other kinds of tooth pain may be milder and linger for longer. So, if you experience sharp pain – especially after exposure to certain foods or an extreme temperature – you likely have sensitive teeth

    These symptoms are very irritating and, in some cases, can really impact the quality of your life. Luckily, there are several things you can do to reduce pain, including both home treatments and dental procedures. Here is how to deal with tooth sensitivity

    1: Use a Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth 

    You can find many types of desensitizing toothpaste on the market, which help reduce the sharp pain you get from having sensitive teeth. If you’re unsure which one to choose from, ask your dentist for recommendations. 

    2: Use a Soft Toothbrush 

    When you have sensitive teeth, the last thing you want is to irritate your gums further by brushing with hard bristles. Instead, opt for a soft bristled toothbrush that feels gentle on the teeth and gums. Not only will it help reduce the amount of sensitivity you feel throughout the day (and just after brushing), but you’ll also find the toothbrush gives your teeth a squeakier clean, as the soft bristles will easily bend around your teeth while brushing. 

    3: Wear a Nightly Mouth Guard

    If your sensitivity is caused by bruxism (when you grind your teeth), then a dentist can prescribe a mouth guard. When you wear this at night, it will prevent you from grinding your teeth and making matters worse over time. 

    4: Avoid Citrus-Heavy Foods

    For some people, acidic foods like citrus fruits cause tooth sensitivity. If this is the case for you, the best way to reduce pain from sensitive teeth is to avoid these foods altogether – or, at least, until you deal with the root cause or get a treatment to protect your teeth and gums. 

    5: Gargle Salt Water 

    A salt water rinse can restore the mouth’s natural pH balance and help reduce inflammation, which helps reduce sensitivity overall. Gargling salt water is simple – just add about a teaspoon of salt to a cup of boiling water, wait for the hot water to cool a little, and then swirl it around your mouth before spitting it out. Do this once a day for the best results. 

    6: Root Canal Treatment 

    A root canal may seem scary, but the treatment may be necessary if your tooth sensitivity is quite severe. The treatment is only usually used if the sensitive tooth becomes infected, as the root canal removes the infected tooth pulp, leading to the relief of tooth sensitivity and pain. 

    7: Fluoride Treatment 

    Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in the earth that strengthens enamel and prevents tooth decay. If you have sensitive teeth, your dentist may provide a fluoride treatment to the sensitive areas, ultimately protecting the area and reducing pain. Your dentist can also prescribe a fluoride treatment to take home and use regularly.  

    8: Gum Grafting

    For more severe cases, your dentist may perform a gum grafting procedure. This involves taking a small amount of gum tissue from another area in your mouth and grafting it onto the problem area. With the protection of your gums, you’ll experience reduced sensitivity. 

    9: Look After Your Teeth 

    It may sound obvious, but it’s so important that it’s worth mentioning. Looking after your oral hygiene is a must for reducing sensitive teeth (as well as a myriad of other dental problems!). To do this, you must brush regularly, at least twice daily. On top of that, avoid eating too many foods that harm your oral health (such as sugar) and floss daily. A water flosser is a particularly effective way to floss your teeth that doesn’t involve using threads. 

    10: Talk to Your Dentist

    Home remedies are good, but it’s always best to talk to your dentist if you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity. That way, you can go through the options of treatment, such as the ones we’ve listed above, like gum grafting and bonding resin. They will also be able to see if your sensitive areas are caused by an underlying issue, such as gum disease or cavities. 

    Do you need a dental appointment? Perhaps you’ve dealt with tooth sensitivity for too long, or you are worried about the underlying issue of it. In any case, contact the team here at BAFDentistry for professional dental care that puts you first. When you see a dentist, you can be sure to get to the root cause of the issue.