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Richard L. Rausch, DDS
1 Rockefeller Plaza, Suite 2201, New York, NY 10020

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Understanding Sensitive Teeth

Have you ever eaten something hot or sweet and felt a sharp sensation of pain or discomfort? If so, then you probably have sensitive teeth and gums. While this is a common issue, it is also one that is treatable.

Patients who have sensitive teeth and gums report pain when doing regular activities like brushing and flossing their teeth or drinking cold beverages. They can even experience painful sensations when drawing in cold air through the mouth. Having some idea as to what exactly is causing your sensitive teeth is the best way to find an effective method of treatment for the problem. Once you’ve identified the cause, you can discover ways to manage your symptoms. In many cases, you can even reverse your symptoms entirely.

The primary cause of sensitive teeth is worn down tooth enamel. Once enamel has worn down enough, it exposes the tooth’s root. Cracked teeth, tooth decay, gum disease, receding gums and brushing your teeth too aggressively can also expose a tooth’s nerves. Once this has occurred, extreme sensations hitting the nerve causes pain.

Your dentist will be able to prescribe the best treatment method for you based on the underlying cause of your sensitive teeth. If your sensitivity is caused because of worn down enamel and exposed nerves, toothpastes designed to desensitize the teeth tend to work well. Your dentist may also prescribe fluoride treatments to strengthen the tooth’s enamel. Dental sealants are frequently utilized when a patient has sensitivity caused by receding gums. Sealants allow your dentist to block irritants from reaching the tooth’s nerve. If these treatments don’t help, a root canal may be necessary in order to fix issues affecting the tooth’s pulp.

The Reasons Why Sensitive Teeth Develop

  1. The enamel of your teeth can wear down and expose nerves if you brush too hard or use a hard-bristled toothbrush. To avoid this, gently brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  2. The consumption of acidic foods such as pickles, tomatoes and citrus fruits can erode the enamel and aggravate sensitive teeth.
  3. Teeth grinding throughout the night can lead to tooth fractures and sensitivity. Talk to your dentist about being fitted for a night guard.
  4. Using certain toothpastes, mouthwashes and other products designed for whitening the teeth can lead to tooth sensitivity.
  5. Mouthwashes containing alcohol can also cause sensitivity. If you use mouthwash, try out a neutral rinse. If that doesn’t help your sensitivity, eliminate mouthwash from your oral hygiene routine.
  6. Receding gums caused by gum disease can be treated via the use of dental sealants and treatments for gum inflammation.
  7. Recent dental procedures can occasionally lead to temporary tooth sensitivity. Procedures such as root canals, tooth extractions and tooth fillings can cause this. If the problem persists, talk to your dentist.
  8. A chipped or cracked tooth can cause sensitivity. If you leave this issue untreated, you could develop severe pain.
  9. Tooth decay sometimes forms around the edges tooth fillings. This happens when old fillings leak or fracture, releasing bacteria and acid that breakdown the enamel. Simply replacing the filling tends to eliminate sensitivity caused by this problem.

In some cases, sensitive teeth and gums can be a symptom of a serious underlying condition. You should always seek out care from your family dentist to rule out serious issues. In most cases, your dentist will prescribe special toothpastes and fluoride treatments that will reduce pain and strengthen the tooth’s enamel.

Ways to Treat Sensitive Teeth and Gums

  • Make appointments to see your dentist in Rockefeller Plaza on a routine basis.
  • Stay on top of your at-home dental care routine.
  • Use soft-bristled toothbrushes and be sure that you’re brushing your teeth and gums while utilizing gentle motions.
  • Use toothpaste that has been designed for sensitive teeth.
  • Utilize a mouthwash containing fluoride in its ingredients.
  • Prevent tooth grinding by wearing a night guard when you sleep.
  • Stay away from acidic beverages and foods.

It’s imperative that you know how to help your sensitive teeth. Patients who have tooth sensitivity caused by tooth grinding should talk to their dentist about being fitted for a night guard. These custom-fitted devices aid in preventing tooth fractures and sensitivity.

Another way to keep sensitivity at bay is to keep away from carbonated beverages, acidic fruits and wine. Consuming these items causes enamel erosion. Brushing your teeth too soon after consuming these items can also lead to erosion. If you do eat or drink something acidic, drink milk or water afterwards. This will neutralize the effect of the acidic food or drink.

Dental Care Tips for Sensitive Teeth

While you should always get an expert opinion from a dental health care professional, the following tips can assist you in dealing with your sensitive teeth and gums:

  1. Discover Desensitizing Toothpaste – These specially formulated toothpastes can prevent discomfort and pain after a few uses. They keep sensitivity from hitting your tooth’s nerves.
  2. Ask About Fluoride – To strengthen the tooth’s enamel and ward off sensitivity from occurring, talk to your dentist about having fluoride placed on sensitive spots.
  3. Find the Remedy at the Roots – Sensitivity that is occurring due to receded gums can be treated via the use of a gum graft procedure.

Sensitive teeth and gums are both treatable and preventable. Practicing excellent dental health care is the best way to prevent this uncomfortable problem from developing. Gently brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush two times a day. You should also be flossing at least once a day. Don’t forget to see your dentist for regular check-ups.

There’s no need to suffer through tooth sensitivity. Seeking out treatments from your family dentist and establishing a consistent oral health care routine at home will help you to both manage and prevent tooth sensitivity.

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Richard L. Rausch, DDS

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(646) 863-8184

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