Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little sensitivity every now and then. Unless, that is, you’re talking about your teeth. Tender teeth aren’t just a source of physical discomfort; the pain can also interfere with your oral hygiene, causing even greater and often more costly problems for teeth and gums. Dr. Jeffrey Allen and Dr. Denise Neumann, dentists who treat sensitive teeth in Pella, IA, offer more insight into the affliction, which the American Dental Association says affects an estimated 1 out of 8 adults.
“Why are my teeth so sensitive?”
First, it’s helpful to distinguish tooth pain from tooth sensitivity. A toothache generally affects only one or two teeth, whether as the result of an infection or cavity. Sensitivity, on the other hand, tends to affect several or all of your teeth. There are many possible causes of sensitivity:
Overly aggressive or concentrated brushing leads to sensitivity, proving that it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. We often see this in patients who focus their brushing efforts on a specific area, such as the front of their front teeth and side teeth, or only on the back molars. As the tooth enamel gradually thins and erodes, exposing nerves and tubules emanating from the middle of each tooth.
A highly acidic diet also has the potential to make brushing uncomfortable. Citrus fruits, coffee, tomatoes, and other acidic substances eat away at the enamel. To prevent damage caused by acid, always rinse your mouth after enjoying these acidic foods and beverages. Avoid brushing your teeth immediately; instead, wait half an hour to avoid causing even more damage.
Receding gums, a symptom of periodontal disease, eventually exposes the roots of your teeth to the elements, leading to discomfort upon contact with heat, cold, and even sweet substances.
“How does my dentist treat sensitive teeth?”
The underlying cause of your discomfort will determine the best course of action. In many cases, it isn’t enough to just use toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth; further intervention is needed. For example, if bruxism or a TMJ disorder is to blame, your dentist may recommend restorative dentistry, or you may be required to wear a protective mouth guard to avoid the destructive effects of grinding. If your sensitivity stems from enamel erosion, either veneers or dental crowns may be an option.
As with any oral health concern, a proactive approach is best; this entails scheduling teeth cleaning and dental checkups a minimum of twice each year.
A pretty smile needn’t be painful. Dr. Jeffrey Allen and Dr. Neumann provide comfortable dental care to patients of all ages. Call (641) 628-1121 today to schedule a checkup and cleaning, cosmetic consultation, or second-opinion visit. We are located on the west side of the historic town square in Pella, IA. Please see the map for directions.