As many as one-in-every-eight adults may have sensitive teeth, according to a recent study by the American Dental Association. When you have overly sensitive teeth, daily activities such as brushing, flossing, drinking and eating can cause jolts of pain. Tooth sensitivity often results from worn down enamel and exposed dentin. Enamel is
In some cases, however, tooth sensitivity can be indicative of a more serious problem. Cracked or chipped teeth, cavities, pressure from tooth grinding, or dental procedures such as bleaching/whitening can all be causes of overly-sensitive teeth.
Concern about sensitive teeth should be discussed with your dentist immediately. Experienced dentists like Dr. Jonathan Penchas can alleviate the pain associated with sensitive teeth, as well as prevent further discomfort.
Dr. Penchas can quickly and accurately identify or rule out the cause of your sensitive teeth and properly develop a treatment plan based on your needs and wants. Currently, several options are available, based on the severity and frequency of the sensitivity:
1. Desensitizing Toothpaste: Dr. Penchas can prescribe desensitizing toothpaste to help block the pain of sensitive teeth. After several applications, the toothpaste will work to block the transmission of pain, from the nerve endings on the tooth surface, to the nerve in the root of the tooth.
2. Fluoride: A dentist like Dr. Penchas can apply fluoride to the overly-sensitive teeth that do not respond well to desensitizing toothpaste. Fluoride has the dual effect of strengthening the enamel, as well as blocking those same pain sensations of the nerve at the root of the tooth.
3. Exposure sealant: Depending on the severity of the case, Dr. Penchas may choose to apply a sealant to protect a nerve root that is exposed from receding gums.
4. Filling or Root Canal: If the cause of the sensitivity is a cavity, or when none of the other options are showing effective results, Dr. Penchas can treat the patient with a filling. When the case progresses from a cavity to tooth root, a root canal may be necessary to treat problems in the dental pulp (the soft core of the tooth). In the case of a root canal and crown placement, an excellent dentist such as Dr. Penchas truly becomes a necessity.
Prevention is often times a much better option than treatment of an existing sensitivity. Brushing twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush and toothpaste, as well as daily flossing, are the most important steps in maintaining proper oral hygiene. Avoiding tooth grinding, hard brushing, and abrasive toothpaste are also important steps in prevention.
Dr. Penchas may choose to prescribe a mouth guard for patients who grind their teeth at night. This can help prevent tooth sensitivity. Please call the office for an appointment for a proper check-up. It’s never too late to start maintaining your oral health.