Tooth Sensitivity: Causes, Treatment, and Coping Strategies

Tooth Sensitivity: Causes, Treatment, and Coping Strategies

Tooth sensitivity can make life miserable for people with severe cases. The sharp pain that results from certain foods or drinks takes part of the joy out of life. Fortunately, there are some ways that Hebert Family Dentistry in Lafayette can help relieve tooth sensitivity pain.

This post will explore the causes of oral tooth sensitivity, possible care treatments, and coping strategies.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

Research published in the International Dental Journal shows that as many as 30 percent of adults experience some level of tooth sensitivity. Most people experience tooth sensitivity between the ages of 20 and 50, and it’s more common in women than men. For most people, the pain is a manageable annoyance. However, severe cases can alter a person’s daily activities. Anyone who experiences tooth sensitivity should mention it at their next dental appointment.

Two of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity are cracked teeth and gum recession. Tooth whitening products can also cause sensitivity since they gradually erode the enamel. Acidic foods and drinks, which we’ll discuss more below, can cause sensitivity when consumed regularly over time. Age, plaque buildup, and teeth grinding are other possible causes.

Dental Care Treatments for Tooth Sensitivity

When treating tooth sensitivity, we take the least invasive approach. In more severe cases, a root canal to remove damaged nerve tissue may be required. It all depends on the cause of your tooth sensitivity, which we will work to diagnose first.

If the tooth sensitivity is caused by receding gums or erosion of the tooth’s enamel, sensitivity can be treated with a simple dental bonding procedure. A dental sealant can be applied to the exposed surfaces of the teeth, and once it hardens, the sensitivity in those teeth should be eliminated. 

If the problem is caused by tooth grinding, a mouthguard might alleviate the issue. A specially formulated mouthguard for sleep apnea can also prevent a person from grinding their teeth at night. 

The treatment becomes more involved in the most severe cases of tooth sensitivity, which can be caused by damaged nerve tissue or a cracked tooth. A root canal can be done to remove damaged nerve tissue beneath the tooth. If the tooth is cracked, the dentist will also recommend installing a dental crown. This has the added benefit of correcting your smile while preventing any future decay of the impacted tooth. 

Coping Strategies for Oral Tooth Sensitivity

If your tooth sensitivity is relatively minor, it may not require full-blown intervention from your dentist. There are some simple coping strategies that you can deploy to help minimize the problem. 

One of the easiest ways to start dealing with tooth sensitivity is to switch to a different brand of toothpaste. There are several brands of desensitizing toothpaste, and you don’t require a prescription to buy them. These are less abrasive than traditional toothpaste brands, so experiment to see if one of those helps. Remember that fluoride helps to strengthen tooth enamel, so use a brand that contains fluoride.

Making some lifestyle changes can also help to reduce tooth sensitivity. Some changes to your diet are one way to achieve this. As mentioned, acidic foods and drinks can wear out teeth enamel and cause sensitivity when consumed. Examples of these foods and beverages include coffee, wine, soda, citrus fruits, and tomato sauce. Eliminating or minimizing these in your diet will help prevent sensitivity. If you still want to drink acidic beverages, consider using a straw. This can prevent the beverage from coming into direct contact with the front of a sensitive tooth.

Your daily oral hygiene routine can also make a difference. Take it easy on your teeth, and don’t brush too hard. Use a soft-bristled brush and replace it with a new one every few months. Avoid harsh mouthwash with alcohol since that can also cause tooth sensitivity to flare up.

If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity and need a solution, call us at Hebert Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment!