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  • Sunshine City Dentistry

Best Treatments for Tooth Sensitivity


Ever sipped on hot coffee or bit into an ice cream bar and experienced the pain that is tooth sensitivity? We probably all have at some point – and it certainly is not fun! Some people have more sensitive teeth than others, but sometimes it is a symptom of tooth damage or decay. We’ll discuss how to help tooth sensitivity and what to do if it’s a symptom of something more serious.


First, let’s see some reasons behind tooth sensitivity.


Weak Enamel


If your teeth happen to be naturally sensitive, you’ve probably dealt with it since you were a kid. Some people are born with less enamel, which means the tooth is already a bit weaker and has more sensitivity due to more exposure of nerve endings within the dentin (the layer of nerves underneath tooth enamel). Dentin has small, hollow canals which allow heat, cold, acidic, sugary or sticky foods to stimulate the nerves inside the tooth.


Enamel can also be worn away by a variety of reasons:

  • Bruxism – which is clenching or grinding on your teeth, typically occurring during sleep (mouth guards are an easy solution to this!)

  • Wear and tear of the teeth – brushing too hard, biting or eating things that are too hard, or chewing tobacco.

  • Corrosion from acidic foods (coffee, soda, citrus, etc), certain medications, or stomach acid (frequent vomiting).

  • Dry mouth


Tooth Whitening – Over-whitening your teeth can cause sensitivity, especially if not done professionally. If you’re using at-home whitening products and experiencing extreme sensitivity, hold off on the whitening for a while. Professional whitening can cause temporary sensitivity but should fade within a few days after the procedure.


Braces – As your teeth shift, they may become sensitive. This is another temporary symptom that should fade as your teeth settle into their new positions.


Tooth decay – one symptom of tooth decay is sensitivity. Tooth decay can be found in many forms, from worn tooth enamel, exposed tooth root, worn fillings, or holes in the tooth. Other symptoms include discoloration of the tooth, and discomfort/pain.


Fractured teeth – A cracked or broken tooth allows for direct access to those nerve endings, causing sensitivity and/or pain.


Gum Disease – Also known as gingivitis (mild) or periodontal disease (advanced stage), the decaying of the gums allows for the exposure of tooth roots which are extremely sensitive.



Treatment Options for Tooth Sensitivity



Sensitive toothpaste – This toothpaste contains ingredients that help block the sensation from your teeth to your nerves.


Soft-bristled toothbrush – There is such a thing as brushing your teeth too hard. If this is a cause of weak enamel, switching to a soft-bristled brush will allow for gentle brushing of the tooth and gums while still cleaning effectively.


Fluoride – applying fluoride will help strengthen tooth enamel and may reduce pain. Your dentist will recommend the best method for this as there are several options.


Desensitizing or Bonding – Bonding a resin or sealant is a possible solution if you have exposed root surfaces which are especially sensitive.


Surgical gum graft – sometimes, if your tooth is losing gum tissue, a gum graft can replace the tissue in the area, reducing exposed roots, which would reduce sensitivity.


Root canal – if your tooth and enamel is decaying to the point of needing a root canal - all of the damaged nerve cells are removed and typically a protective crown is placed on top. With the decay removed, the sensitivity will be gone.


If you have any sensitivity, schedule an appointment with Dr. Moccia at Sunshine City Dentistry to determine the cause of your tooth sensitivity and what treatment options are best for your situation.


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