For people with sensitive teeth, there are ways to treat tooth sensitivity and explore the reasons behind it.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Toothpaste for sensitive teeth
- Toothbrush for sensitive teeth
- Modification of your diet
- Healozone therapy at dentist office
The first step in dealing with tooth sensitivity is to try dental products that will help lessen the tooth sensitivity. Start with a toothpaste, such as Crest Pro Health Clean Mint. This toothpaste is great because it also helps prevent cavities, plaque and tartar, helps whiten, and reduces sensitivity. It works best when used morning and night as well as right after each meal. Another toothpaste you could try is Sensodyne. The toothpastes help build up resistance to sensitivity in your teeth over time.
Other dental products can help reduce sensitivity. Fluoride rinses will help strengthen your teeth, thus leaving them less susceptible to sensitivity. One product to try is Listerine Tooth Defense.
Healthy gums also help reduce sensitivity, so flossing regularly can help. A waterpik also works toward healthy gums, by reducing the plaque that is left after brushing and flossing with high pressure water which loosens plaque and stimulates the gums.
What you eat plays a role in your tooth sensitivity. Generally, very cold or very hot foods will elicit a painful feeling of sensitivity in your teeth. If you eat ice cream or something hot like hot chocolate, this could bring on sensitivity.
Sweets and acidic foods also bring about tooth sensitivity. Did you ever notice that after you eat ten pieces of liquorice that your teeth kind of hurt from being sensitive? What about after eating spaghetti with a tomato sauce?
You could avoid hot and cold foods, anything with sugar in it and anything acidic like tomatoes and citrus fruits. However, this would probably make your life pretty boring. If you brush your teeth with the sensitive teeth toothpaste right after eating, this should lessen the effect the foods have on producing sensitivity. Also, the sensitive tooth toothpaste should help strengthen your teeth over time.
So what causes tooth sensitivity? One thing is that your teeth are hyper sensitive. It's just like someone being sensitive to cold weather, or sensitive to pollen and having allergy problems. Your teeth can exhibit sensitivity just like any other part of your body. The toothpastes that work on sensitivity work to alleviate the hypersensitivity in your teeth, just like antihistamines work to block the reaction of your body to histamine (allergens.)
If you have just one tooth that is sensitive, it could be that you chipped some of the enamel off your tooth. If so, after a few weeks the sensitivity may go away on its own, once the tooth adjusts.
However, if the sensitivity doesn't go away, you might have an issue that requires a dentist. Take a trip to the dentist to find out.
If your dentist determines that your teeth are hypersensitive and nothing else is going on, it may just be that the over the counter toothpaste isn't strong enough. The dentist can give you a prescription strength fluoride toothpaste aimed at sensitivity, such as Sultan Topex, which contains Xylitol (Xylitol is believed to help in the prevention of cavities). Read the article on Xylitol listed in the Resource section.
Your dentist might determine that the enamel in one or some of your teeth is breaking down. You don't yet have a cavity, but the enamel is about to be eroded. If this is the case, your dentist might prescribe GC MI Paste, which is another type of toothpaste. It works towards rebuilding the enamel by helping your tooth to remineralise. The toothpaste contains sodium fluoride, but also calcium and phosphate.
If your enamel is starting to erode, or you have the beginnings of a small cavity, there is a new procedure that can help the tooth remineralise. It is called Healozone Therapy. It uses ozone to kill the bacteria present in the tooth. Then, a patient home kit including mouthwash and toothpaste helps the tooth to remineralise, reversing the cavitation process in the tooth. See the article in the resource section to find out more about Healozone.
As of 2008, ozone therapy has not yet been approved in the United States as a dental procedure. Tests are being conducted, so that by the end of 2008 or 2009, ozone will become available in the U..S. For now, you can visit a dentist in Canada, England or New Zealand. Three dentists in the US. are currently using ozone therapy, but they don't advertise it. You would have to find out their names and locations through other means.
The sensitivity could be caused by a larger cavity. Your dentist could use Healozone therapy in connection with drilling. If the cavity is close to a nerve, the dentist could drill away some of the decay, and then use Healozone to help reverse the decay close to the nerve, allowing the tooth to remineralise and avoid a root canal. Then, a Fuji 7 seal is placed over the cavity and a white filling.
Finally, the sensitivity could be caused by receding gums. If your gums have receded to the point where some of the tooth's root is exposed, this can make your teeth sensitive. You would want to take steps to help your gums get healthy as recommended by your dentist. In some cases, the dentist may wish to seal the area with a white filling that goes over the area where the tooth's root is exposed.
Tips and warnings
- Candy and other sugary snacks seem to make teeth more sensitive over time. Avoiding such sweets can not only reduce sensitivity, but also help your overall dental health and lessen the chance of getting cavities in your teeth.
- If you have a sensitive tooth, don't wait too long to have it checked out by a dentist if the symptoms don't go away. You could have a deep cavity that is close to the nerve and needs dealt with right away to avoid a root canal.
- If the tooth is sensitive to hot and cold, it could be that the nerve has been exposed and a root canal is indicated (unless you are able to prevent this with Healozone therapy).