Your gums serve as a protective shield to the roots of your teeth. When that shield falls below the normal gum line, it exposes the roots below the crown of your tooth, leaving the roots vulnerable to stimuli – the hot and cold foods you eat and drink.

This begs the question, “What can I do to prevent tooth sensitivity?” Various factors contribute to tooth pain, but gum recession is a primary cause. Likewise, the causes of gum recession also vary, and can include:

  1. Plaque: If you’re not brushing your teeth regularly plaque will buildup on the roots of your teeth. Plaque causes gum recession, so establishing a better brushing routine can help prevent this condition and its resulting discomfort.
  2. Brushing Vigorously: Scrubbing away harshly at your teeth can actually do more harm than good. Enamel is susceptible to wear, and harsh brushing can make the gums recede. We recommend using a soft bristle tooth brush and a gentle, thorough brushing style, using light, circular strokes.
  3. Excessive Teeth Whitening: Over-bleaching your teeth can lead to tooth sensitivity. The bleach can erode the enamel of the teeth. We recommend opting for professionally-prescribed home whitening for minimal sensitivity and optimal results.
  4. Cracked or Broken Teeth: When patients don’t seek dental care for their chipped and broken teeth, problems can quickly arise. The sensitivity may be caused by exposed dentin or a build-up of bacterial plaque. Plaque in the damaged area can cause inflammation, thus leading to tooth pain.
  5. Grinding Your Teeth: Stress and anxiety can manifest in strange ways – like teeth grinding. Also called bruxism, teeth grinding causes tooth enamel to wear away, exposing sensitive dentin. Bruxism takes place most commonly while a person sleeps, but can happen during the day as well.
  6. Acidic Foods and Beverages : Acids also erode tooth enamel, reducing the buffer between outside stimuli and the nerve of a tooth. Avoiding citrus and carbonated beverages helps. Also, rinsing your mouth with water after drinking or eating may reduce acidity. If acid erosion has already occurred, a coating of dental resin can replace lost tooth enamel and reduce sensitivity. Porcelain veneers and lifelike dental crowns are alternatives, as well.
  7. Age: Believe it or not, your age may be to blame for the pain you’re experiencing. As we age, our gums begin to recede exposing the roots (our roots are not protected by enamel), leaving them vulnerable to sensitivity.

Reducing Your Risk of Tooth Sensitivity

There are some simple precautionary steps you can take to prevent tooth sensitivity, such as:

  • Using a toothbrush with soft bristles, and brushing in circular strokes along the gum line
  • Eating a healthy, well balanced diet
  • Flossing your teeth daily
  • Using desensitizing toothpaste
  • Attending regular 6-month checkups and cleanings

To help you reduce your risk of tooth sensitivity, we can prescribe one of 3 different prescription toothpastes, depending on your needs:

  • ClinPro™ 5000 is high-fluoride toothpaste that contains a tri-calcium phosphate ingredient naturally found in saliva. This power-packed toothpaste focuses on stopping the progression of demineralization and encouraging remineralization, resulting in reduced tooth sensitivity.
  • Prevident is a prescription toothpaste for patients with mild to moderate tooth sensitivity. This leading dental product strengthens teeth and fights tooth decay.
  • Vanish XT Extended Contact Varnish bonds a powerful barrier to the root surface of the tooth, relieving sensitivity immediately. The barrier lasts for 6 months continuously delivering fluoride, calcium and phosphate to your teeth.

Relief from Tooth Sensitivity and Pain

If your tooth is sensitive or in pain, then we can help you find relief by strengthening your teeth or addressing the underlying dental issue. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Allen or Dr. Neumann, call our dental office in Pella, IA, today at (641) 628-1121.