Tooth sensitivity is a painful condition that causes you to think twice about drinking a hot beverage or enjoying an ice cream cone. If you have this condition, you are one of approximately 40 million American adults, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to treat this, and the process begins by speaking with the dentists at Petrone Family Dentistry. 

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

There are many causes of tooth sensitivity, which is why you need to speak with your dentist. While this pain may be the result of general sensitivity, it can also be a symptom of gum disease, a cavity or an impacted tooth. 

True tooth sensitivity, or dentin hypersensitivity, may affect one tooth, several teeth, or all of the teeth, depending on the person. Typical causes of this pain are exposure of the roots of the teeth due to gum recession or the enamel is worn down from wear, aggressive tooth brushing or grinding your teeth at night.

Tooth sensitivity may range from mild to intense, and can come and go for no obvious reason. Common triggers of this sensitivity are:  

  • hot foods and beverages
  • cold foods and beverages
  • cold air
  • sweet foods and beverages
  • acidic foods and beverages
  • cold water, especially during routine dental cleanings
  • brushing or flossing teeth
  • alcohol-based mouth rinses

If you are experiencing dental pain due to these triggers and it persists for more than a few days, you need to schedule an appointment. 

Treatment Options

There are several treatment options for sensitive teeth and these include:

  • Using an over-the-counter desensitizing toothpaste. These are widely available in drug stores and grocery stores, and there are many brands and flavors to choose from.
  • Applying a sealant. In some cases having your dentist seal the tooth is the best option for long-term relief.
  • Receiving a gum graft. In severe cases, your dentist may recommend this procedure which involves taking tissue from the palate and placing it over the root to protect the tooth.
  • Using a high-fluoride toothpaste. Many of these are available in drug stores though there are some that require a prescription from your dentist.
  • Decreasing the amount of highly acidic foods. These foods, such as sugar and soft drinks, can further damage your tooth enamel and should be avoided.
  • Eliminating tarter-control toothpaste. For some people the abrasiveness of this product can cause tooth sensitivity or increase its severity.
  • Limiting the intake of soft drinks. Enjoying these beverages several times a day can cause or worsen tooth sensitivity. It is a good idea to cut back or eliminate them altogether. 
  • Being gentle to your teeth. Avoid using hard-bristled tooth brushes and brushing your teeth too hard because both can wear down the surface of your tooth. The best way to see if you are brushing too hard is to look at the bristles of your current tooth brush. If they are pointing in several directions, you need to ease up on the pressure. 

If you are experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity, and have started to avoid eating foods that you love because of it, you need to see your dentist. At Petrone Family Dentistry, we can diagnose the cause of your pain and create a treatment plan to address it. This sensitivity will not go away without dental care, so don’t wait to find relief. Schedule an appointment today so that you can be pain-free as soon as possible.