If you can’t enjoy a cup of hot coffee or a glass of cold juice without getting that stinging pain in your teeth, those are symptoms of sensitive teeth. Moreover, eating, brushing and flossing may also lead to the sharp pain. Sensitivity to the cold and heat may be caused by a number of reasons and it may range from any trauma to dental issues. Teeth may also become sensitive to pressure at times. Sensitivity may take several days and weeks to wear away. One of the most common reasons for sensitivity is the damage to any one of the protective outer layers of tooth – enamel or cementum. Enamel gives protection to the crown while cementum forms a supportive layer over the root.
Identifying the root cause of the problem is the first step in treating the sensitive pain in teeth. So, if you feel that you have sensitive teeth, visit your dentist.
Some of the common recommendations to reduce the pain include:
- Desensitizing tooth paste – These pastes can help to block the pain after a few days of application. Potassium nitrate, an active ingredient in many of these fill in the channels called dentin and block the pain. One has to use it continuously to get the needed relief. The paste should be spread on the sensitive spots for few weeks to reduce sensitivity.
- Fluoride – Applying fluoride on the sensitive spots strengthens the enamel of the tooth and help in reducing pain. Certain fluoride rinses are available as over-the-counter products and these may also help to reduce sensitivity. People who undergo root planing may have more sensitive teeth than normal. In such case, strong fluoride rinse or gels are required to give relief.
- Covering the exposed root surfaces – If the cause of sensitivity is exposed root surfaces, applying a sealant to cover them is the recommended method.
- Root canal treatment – If the other treatments are not effective and if the pain is severe, dentists may suggest a root canal treatment to treat the soft core of the sensitive teeth.
It is equally important to prevent the sensitivity from recurring. Maintaining a good oral health by brushing teeth with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride tooth paste twice a day is very important in this regard. Avoid using abrasive toothpaste and excessive brushing and flossing of teeth. Remember not to grind your teeth, as it may fracture teeth and cause sensitivity. Reducing the intake of acidic foods will prevent the corrosion of tooth enamel.