Preventing & Treating Tooth Sensitivity
Preventing tooth sensitivity is about maintaining good, basic dental care habits, although for some, certain types of sensitivity may be unavoidable due to their dental history. To prevent sensitive teeth, maintain good oral hygiene, brush carefully in an up-and-down motion, and seek treatment from a skilled, affordable dentist in Westminster if you grind or clench your teeth.
If you already have sensitive teeth symptoms, such as discomfort when eating hot or cold foods, you should contact your dentist for an appointment. During the appointment, your dentist will review your dental history and examine your mouth. X-rays may be necessary to uncover tooth decay or expose nerve problems. Tooth sensitivity is very treatable by a skilled family dentistry professional; however, some of the treatments can be very uncomfortable.
Two Types of Tooth Sensitivity
1. Dentinal Sensitivity
The tooth sensitivity that occurs when the dentin—the tooth’s middle layer—is exposed is called dentinal sensitivity. Normally, the dentin is protected by enamel, which is above the gum line and by cementum, which is below the gum line. Dentin contains tiny tubes called tubules, where nerve branches originate, and is basically the tooth’s nerve center. Tooth sensitivity can occur when the dentin is exposed to hot and cold temperatures or pressure.
When the protective layers of enamel break down, the dentin may become exposed. This may be caused by multiple factors, including:
- Tartar buildup at the gum line caused by poor dental care
- Receding gums
- Cracked fillings
- Worn teeth
- Vigorous or hard brushing of the teeth
- Excessive tooth whitening
- Overconsumption of acidic foods and beverages
2. Pulpal Sensitivity
Typically affecting a single tooth, pulpal sensitivity is caused by a reaction at the tooth’s pulp, which consists of the blood vessels and nerves at the center of each tooth. The following can cause pulpal tooth sensitivity:
- A cracked or broken tooth
- New fillings
- Pressure caused by excessive teeth clenching or grinding
Tooth Sensitivity Treatments
While both types of tooth sensitivity can be treated by a dentist in Westminster, pulpal sensitivity is a more complex issue.
Dentinal sensitivity treatment begins with a routine teeth cleaning, but if your teeth are too sensitive, your dentist may use a local anesthetic to minimize your discomfort. Following your cleaning, a fluoride varnish may be applied to temporarily reduce sensitivity, increase tooth strength, and protect your teeth. Your dentist may also perform an in-office treatment, applying a product that blocks the tubules in dentin and reduces dentinal tooth sensitivity for a more in-depth treatment. For an even more advanced approach to reducing sensitivity, a dental laser treatment may be performed to alter the tubules.
For proper at-home dental care, you will need to brush with a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth and rinse with a fluoride mouthwash for extra protection. Consult your family dentistry professional about which dental care products are best suited for treating dentinal sensitivity.
Pulpal sensitivity may require that your dentist perform a root canal if the tooth’s nerve is damaged or dying. During the root canal, your dentist will remove the damaged nerve and place a non-reactive substance in the opening where the nerve was located. Because the tooth will no longer have a full layer of protective enamel, it must be repaired with a composite filling or a crown.
To get the dental care you deserve from an affordable dentist in Westminster, call Dental One Associates of Westminster today at (410) 970-0292 or make an appointment.
Dental One Associates offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Westminster. With 11 affiliated practices throughout Maryland, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Dental One Associates of Westminster, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Dental One Associates of Westminster.