There are many factors that can cause sensitive teeth: periodontal (gum) disease, fractured/chipped tooth, cavity, dental procedures/bleaching. The most common is worn tooth enamel combined with root surface exposure. When the tooth’s protective enamel is damaged or worn down, it exposes the next layer called dentin. The Dentin layer is full of tiny tubules that let cold and heat flow directly to the tooth’s nerve. When the protection is gone, the heat and cold have a direct pathway to the tooth’s nerve and most often results in pain.
What can be done?
Toothpaste- Desensitizing toothpaste can help prevent pain from being sent to the tooth’s nerve by desensitizing the tubules exposed in the dentin. Just about every brand of toothpaste has its own version of desensitizing toothpaste you can get over the counter. If you are in need and unsure which brand to get, your dental office can point you in the right direction.
Fluoride- Your dental office might also suggest a fluoride treatment that can be applied in the office to help desensitize and strengthen the tooth’s enamel. There is also prescription fluoride toothpaste that you can purchase from your dental office that will help with strengthening and desensitizing.
Filling or Crown- In some cases, bonding filling material (resin) to the tooth’s surface can help treat sensitivity. This layer of resin can help insulate the root or sensitive part of the tooth. In other instances, a crown can be placed to insulate the entire tooth.
Root Canal- If tooth sensitivity continues, your dentist may take an x-ray to see if a root canal would be beneficial.
Surgical Gum Graft- Another option for large amounts of gum recession is a gingival graft. This procedure takes a small amount of gum tissue and covers the affected part of the tooth.
With the many contributors and solutions for sensitive teeth, let your dental office help you find your at-home or in-office solution. Give our Ogden Utah office a call if you have any questions or if you’d like to schedule an appointment.