There’s nothing like the sheer joy of savoring cold, delicious ice cream on a hot summer day. Yet, for one in eight Americans, as the Journal of the American Dental Association reported, this indulgence can trigger excruciating tooth pain due to sensitivity. It’s not just about missing out on ice cream but also the myriad joys of hot coffees, tangy treats, and so much more.
At Panacea Dental, your leading dentist in Libertyville, we understand the challenges of sensitive teeth and are committed to offering personalized solutions to this bitter-sweet experience. With the advent of advanced dental technology and treatments, you no longer have to miss out on your favorite treats. Our expert-backed guide below offers tips for living with sensitive teeth.
Understanding Sensitive Teeth
Teeth sensitivity, commonly referred to as “dentin hypersensitivity,” is a sharp, sudden pain that shoots into the nerve endings of the teeth. It’s often triggered by stimuli such as hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks. The primary cause of tooth sensitivity is the exposure of the inner part of the tooth, known as the dentin.
The dentin, usually covered by enamel on the crown and gums on the root, contains tiny tubules filled with nerve endings. When the protective coverings of enamel or gums recede or wear down, these tubules allow stimuli to reach the nerve endings in the tooth, leading to the characteristic pain of sensitivity. Other causes include cavities, fractured teeth, worn fillings, gum disease, and exposed tooth roots.
Tips for Living with Sensitive Teeth
While preventative dentistry plays a crucial role in averting many oral health issues, living with sensitive teeth may still be a reality for some. Here are some expert tips to navigate and manage this discomfort:
Use Desensitizing Toothpaste
This toothpaste is scientifically formulated with active ingredients designed to block the pain signals that travel from your tooth’s surface to its inner nerves. The toothpaste’s effectiveness often hinges on its ingredients. Most of these toothpastes harness the power of potassium salt, which is believed to penetrate the dentin tubule, effectively disrupting the nerve’s response to painful stimuli.
A study published in the Journal of Conservative Dentistry found desensitizing toothpaste containing 8% arginine to be the most effective in reducing dentin hypersensitivity. This was followed in effectiveness by herbal desensitizing formulations and those with potassium salt. So, when selecting a toothpaste, it’s wise to check the ingredients and try arginine-rich options.
Consider Fluoride Varnishes
Fluoride varnishes involve applying a concentrated form of fluoride directly to the teeth. According to Dalia Lai, BS, RDH, a licensed dental hygienist, fluoride varnish acts as a sturdy mechanical shield against external stimuli. The magic behind fluoride varnishes is that they bolster the tooth enamel, making it more resilient against potential damage and decay.
As the fluoride penetrates the tooth surface, it aids in desensitizing exposed dentin—the primary culprit behind those sharp, unexpected jolts of pain. Since fluoride varnishes seal off the microscopic tubules in the dentin, they prevent the persistent, acute pain often experienced by individuals with dentin hypersensitivity.
Opt for Dental Bonding
When facing the discomfort of sensitive teeth, it might be time to explore restorative dentistry solutions offered by a cosmetic dentist. These dentists use expert techniques to reduce tooth sensitivity: bonding and filling. A cosmetic dentist applies a tooth-colored resin material directly to the exposed root during dental bonding.
They use a special light to harden this material, binding it securely to the tooth. Not only does this shield the exposed area, but it also recreates the natural appearance of the tooth, ensuring that your smile remains as dazzling as ever.
Get Dental Crowns for Damaged Teeth
A damaged tooth, whether cracked or chipped, becomes more vulnerable to external stimuli, increasing sensitivity. Dental crowns come to the rescue in such situations.
Acting as protective covers, these crowns encapsulate the entire visible part of the tooth, guarding it against factors that may exacerbate sensitivity. Not only do dental crowns protect, but they also restore the tooth’s appearance, ensuring it blends seamlessly with the rest of your smile.
Gum Disease Treatment and Tooth Extraction
Sometimes, tooth sensitivity is a symptom of a more profound problem, like gum disease or a decayed tooth. Gum disease can cause gum recession, exposing sensitive tooth roots, while a severely damaged tooth might be the source of the discomfort. Treatments like root planning and scaling, root canal treatment, or even tooth extraction might be recommended.
Admittedly, the thought of these treatments can be unsettling. But with the best dentist, you’re assured meticulous care every step of the way. And if extraction is the chosen route, modern solutions like implant-supported dentures ensure you won’t compromise aesthetics or functionality.
Stay on Top of Sensitive Teeth
Sensitive teeth shouldn’t deter you from enjoying life’s sweet moments. Solutions are at your fingertips, thanks to the combined benefits of cosmetic, preventative, and restorative dentistry. At Panacea Dental, we will be your dedicated family dentist in Libertyville to guide you through every step of your oral health journey.
We offer a comprehensive range of treatments to address teeth sensitivity, ensuring you can relish every bite, sip, smile, and, most importantly, go on and take that bite of ice cream without fear. Schedule an appointment today.