Sensitive Teeth

Having sensitive teeth can be very uncomfortable and include feelings of pain in your teeth when you eat something hot or cold. Gum recession and enamel wear are the main causes. A dentist can treat the teeth and gums and provide other helpful solutions.

What does the term, “sensitive teeth,” really mean, and what symptoms does it include?

Dr. John Vitale: Well, sensitive teeth generally means short, sharp, twingey feelings of pain in your teeth when eating something hot or cold, brushing or flossing, breathing in cold air.

What causes sensitive teeth, and are some people more at risk for having sensitive teeth?

Dr. John Vitale: Well, the two main factors causing sensitive teeth are gum recession, and enamel wear. And yes, some people are more prone to sensitive teeth.

Should a special toothpaste or rinse be used if someone has sensitive teeth?

Dr. John Vitale: Yes, there are special toothpastes on the market, and rinses like Listerine Sensitivity, for instance, or Sensodyne. These outside applications or at home applications are very helpful in controlling sensitivity.

Are there any dental treatments that can be done to help sensitive teeth?

Dr. John Vitale: Yeah, there are a couple of treatments that are available. For the gum recession, you fill in the root surfaces where the gum recession has caused the second layer or the cementum of your tooth to be exposed, so you fill those in with a composite resin, and that really decreases the root sensitivity by a lot.

Fluoride applications in the dental office also helps. Also, the fabrication of a mouth guard because some people tend to brux their teeth in the evening when they are sleeping, and that causes sensitivity. So by wearing a mouth guard, you alleviate a lot of the bruxism, and it also helps the sensitivity.

And yes, they all should be treated by a dentist.

If someone thinks they have sensitive teeth, should they see a dentist to get checked?

Dr. John Vitale: Absolutely. I mean your dentist obviously is your first area of defense against all of these problems, and a qualified dentist, a qualified professional, would be able to alleviate these problems probably up to 100%.

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