A bite of ice cream on a hot July day can be more painful than pleasurable if you have sensitive teeth. Today, our Lake Forest dentist Dr. James Fondriest shares some facts about why teeth become sensitive and what you can do about it.
A Sensitive Subject
Tooth sensitivity is caused by the exposure of dentin, which is the softer layer of the tooth under the enamel. Dentin can become exposed through enamel loss or gum recession. Sensitive teeth often hurt when they are exposed to temperature changes or sweet or acidic foods. A dentist can determine why a tooth is sensitive. Sometimes tooth sensitivity is caused by a cavity or gum disease and a dentist can treat those problems. Other times the tooth is sensitive because the enamel has been worn away or the gums have receded and left the root exposed.
Treating Tooth Sensitivity
If gum disease, the early stage of which can be reversed, is causing tooth pain, a dentist can treat the problem. If a cavity is causing pain, the dentist can fill the cavity. Dentin exposure can be treated with a variety of in-office and at-home remedies.
- Bonding agent, which is used to attach restorations to teeth or fill cavities, can be used to seal the dentin and keep it from coming in contact with anything that causes pain.
- Fluoride varnish can strengthen the enamel and dentin.
- Fluoride gel or foam in mouth trays can treat the teeth with a high concentration of fluoride for three to five minutes, strengthening the sensitive area.
- Use a toothpaste specifically designed for patients with sensitive teeth.
- Brush properly, and be careful not to brush too hard.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Stiffer bristles can aggravate sensitive teeth and cause further gum recession.
- Use a fluoride rinse provided by your dentist.
Schedule an Appointment
Tooth sensitivity can take the fun out of even the most enjoyable foods and beverages, but you don’t have to suffer. Apply the at-home tips listed above and schedule an appointment with Dr. Fondriest. To contact our Lake Forest office, call (847) 234-0517. We serve the Chicago, Illinois area,.