Living with a condition that makes your teeth sensitive can be challenging because it limits your food options. Your overall comfort and well-being are also lower, making it necessary to seek medical remedies for a full recovery. Tooth sensitivity may arise for various reasons, including diet and lifestyle choices.
Regardless of the primary cause, your dentist will provide a diagnosis and treatment options to help you fully recover. When choosing your dentist, consider working with an experienced professional who understands the various reasons for sensitive teeth and how to prevent them from worsening.
At Washington Dental, you will receive excellent dental services to help you remedy your sensitive tooth condition. Our experience handling multiple dental conditions has equipped us with the necessary skills to identify your situation and recommend a workable treatment plan. You can also rely on us to make an accurate diagnosis that helps you identify any other underlying conditions early. By doing so, you have a lower chance of facing future complications. Our services are available in Carson, California, for anyone looking for a sensitive tooth remedy.
The Nature of Sensitive Teeth
Tooth sensitivity may manifest in various ways, depending on the severity of your condition and the type of tooth affected. For some patients, it involves a single tooth; for others, it may cause discomfort across your entire dental formula.
You may notice the condition after some time, mainly when eating hot or cold foods. The onset of pain and discomfort varies between patients, as some may report multiple symptoms at once while others notice the sensitivity developing over time.
The tooth sensitivity may also be seasonal based on the external conditions you expose your teeth to. For example, taking hot and cold foods simultaneously makes you more prone to sensitivity. Cold foods are more likely to trigger sensitivity, making it necessary to avoid them until you receive treatment.
Symptoms of Sensitive Teeth
Patients who have not previously experienced tooth sensitivity may need to gain all the knowledge they need to help them identify the condition at the onset. Learning about the various symptoms is beneficial because it equips you with the information necessary to seek professional help. Some commonly reported symptoms include:
Experiencing a Sharp Pain After Taking Hot or Cold Food or Drinks
A significant sign of sensitive teeth is sharp pain after taking hot or cold food and drinks or after a sudden temperature change in the food you take. The pain may flow into the root of the affected teeth, causing lasting discomfort that prevents you from having more food or drinks.
If your tooth sensitivity is in its mild stages, the pain may begin as a dull sensation that only lasts for short periods. If so, you may be unsure about the condition, but it is still advisable to see a dentist. In doing so, you avoid dealing with the aggravated condition that may arise without proper dental care.
An Uncomfortable Feeling When Brushing Your Teeth
Additionally, tooth sensitivity may arise when you brush your teeth, manifesting as discomfort. Many patients report feeling a slight tinge of pain that then transmits through the different parts of the teeth. The discomfort may also permeate your gums, resulting in a sharp pain that prevents you from cleaning your teeth well.
In severe cases, the discomfort may persist after brushing your teeth, causing difficulty going about your day. For example, taking food or a quick snack throughout the day becomes painful and difficult, resulting in a change in your diet.
Pain or Uncomfortable Sensations When Taking Sweet Foods or Drinks
Sensitive teeth also make eating or drinking sweet foods or drinks difficult, mainly because of the excess sugar content often found in the foods. If exposed nerves are hypersensitive to the components you ingest, it is more likely that you will develop pain and discomfort.
After noticing the symptoms, you want to consult your dentist immediately for a proper examination and diagnosis. A standard indicator of potential tooth sensitivity after drinking sweet drinks or eating food is if you also have cavities or tooth decay. This is because the conditions deteriorate your enamel over time because of overexposure to bacterial chemicals that feed on the sugars.
Sensitivity When Using Alcohol-Based Mouthwash
Many mouthwash products contain alcohol as a base ingredient because of its active role in killing bacteria in the mouth. While alcohol-based mouthwash products are helpful to some, they may increase tooth sensitivity if you already have the condition, mainly because of their strong effect on the enamel.
The alcohol-based products intend to permeate the tooth surface to remove plaque and other materials, but they may sometimes interfere with the nerves. If so, you want to pause using the products and schedule an appointment with your dentist to check for tooth sensitivity.
An Uncomfortable Sensation When Breathing in Cold Air
When your teeth come into contact with cold air, the nerves may react to the sharp temperature change and cause severe pain and discomfort. You can determine whether your teeth are sensitive by taking a deep breath through your mouth and observing whether you feel an uncomfortable sensation.
In the case of a noticeable tooth sensitivity symptom, you can schedule an appointment for your dentist to examine you. Your case may be mild or extreme, and seeking professional help is an excellent starting point for remedying tooth sensitivity.
Pain or Discomfort on Your Teeth When Taking Acidic Foods
Acidic foods like oranges and pineapples also have components that may erode your enamel, resulting in sensitive teeth. While many people report experiencing tooth sensitivity after eating acidic foods, it should subside after a few minutes to an hour.
If you notice an extended period of discomfort or pain after eating or drinking acidic food or drinks, you may have a more severe case of sensitive teeth. This should warrant you seeking treatment to prevent your case from worsening.
Causes of Sensitive Teeth
Sensitive teeth often indicate an underlying condition that affects the nerves. Since your nerves relay information about any stimulus on your teeth to the brain, overexposure to external conditions can cause tooth sensitivity.
Your dentist’s role is to identify the primary reason for your condition based on your habits and choices. Causes of sensitive teeth include:
Regular Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening is a process through which you can lighten the shade of your teeth to give them a brighter and more appealing appearance. The procedure is painless and often harmless, involving potent bleaching agents to lighten your teeth.
The bleaching process also involves exposing your teeth to bleaching chemicals for a few minutes, possibly eroding your enamel. As a result, regular teeth whitening procedures weaken your teeth over time, causing tooth sensitivity.
Your condition may also worsen if you combine teeth whitening with other practices like eating acidic foods, making you more susceptible to tooth irritation. Your dentist may recommend an alternative to the bleaching procedures or direct you to avoid them until your tooth sensitivity subsides.
Using a Hard-bristled Bristled Toothbrush
While regular brushing is advisable, you must use the appropriate toothbrush on your teeth to avoid causing damage to the enamel. While your teeth are strong and resilient to many external components, they are living parts susceptible to deterioration, including from excess friction.
A hard-bristled toothbrush will thus create rough surfaces on the tooth surface, causing sensitivity over time. The plastic bristles may also poke your gums, resulting in poor gum health and tooth sensitivity.
Taking Too Much Acidic Food or Drinks
As discussed, it is a common factor in tooth sensitivity, mainly because it can erode or reduce the enamel's strength. Acidic foods may also vary in intensity and create other severe health conditions beyond tooth sensitivity. You can therefore observe how you feel after taking acidic food or drinks. Regulation is critical after determining that acidic foods are worsening your tooth sensitivity, so your dentist will recommend changing your diet.
Tooth Decay or Cavities
Cavities are a dental condition that indicates the presence of bacteria in your teeth, causing holes in the enamel. Once bacteria spread in your mouth, they feed on food particles and sugars stuck between your teeth. In the process, they release harmful chemicals that eventually corrode the tooth surface.
As the erosion continues over time due to a lack of treatment, the cavity develops into tooth decay, causing severe tooth corrosion. Your dentine may therefore become exposed, resulting in the exposure of sensitive tooth parts like your nerves.
Patients suffering from tooth sensitivity because of tooth decay experience more severe pain symptoms as any external stimulus directly touches the sensitive tooth parts. The pain extends to the neighboring teeth, causing continuous discomfort until you seek dental treatment.
Acid Reflux from a Gastroesophageal Condition
Gastroesophageal problems cause conditions like acid reflux (GERD), whereby you constantly experience a flow of contents from your stomach to your mouth. The condition often arises because of intense stomach acidity as your body attempts to remove the acidic contents.
Since the contents flowing through your gut are acidic, you may face tooth sensitivity for various reasons. For example, your body may accumulate acidic gas that harms your teeth, primarily if it is highly concentrated.
Alternatively, you may have to vomit the contents of your mouth, exposing the tooth to bile and other acidic contents. In extreme cases where a patient vomits several times daily, your sensitivity increases and creates additional problems, including pain and discomfort when eating.
Using Excessive Force When Brushing
While you may use the appropriate toothbrush when cleaning your teeth, you may still be prone to sensitivity from using excessive force. The effects of brushing your teeth too hard are the same as using a hard-bristled toothbrush, as it causes friction and corrosion on the enamel.
Despite this, you can correct the practice by changing your intensity when brushing and creating a new habit. Your dentist will also inform you that brushing hard does not necessarily mean you have removed all the plaque and food particles stuck on your teeth. Instead, you can incorporate an effective brushing style to achieve the desired results.
A Recent Brace Removal Procedure
If you are undergoing teeth realignment treatment using braces, you may experience teeth sensitivity despite not having it previously. The condition may occur for various reasons, including the pressure forcing your teeth to move into their intended new positions.
Some patients may also experience sensitivity because of the metal brackets and the glue stuck to the enamel. During the braces removal procedure, your dentist will remove the glue used to adhere the brackets to the teeth using tools that could erode your teeth.
The sensitivity may also arise from the thorough cleaning that follows the brace removal process, mainly because cleaning involves removing the hard glue that remains after removing the brackets. If you experience tooth sensitivity during the subsequent procedures after your braces are removed, you can inform your dentist to help them provide a remedy while you are still in the clinic.
Your gums begin to recede as you age due to your continuous exposure to different brushing habits. Patients who use excessive force when brushing may also experience receding gums because of the constant tooth friction.
When your gums recede, they expose your nerves and sensitive tooth parts to external components, resulting in tooth sensitivity. By consulting your dentist, you can establish the most suitable way to control the condition and reduce the uncomfortable effects you experience from sensitive teeth.
Having Fillings or Tooth Crowns Fitted
Although fillings and crowns are beneficial dental remedies for cavities and tooth decay, they may also trigger tooth sensitivity. The primary reason for this is that they occupy previously exposed space. The fillings also pressure the surrounding tooth parts, increasing the chances of sensitive teeth.
While dental procedures may trigger sensitivity, it only lasts a short while, as your teeth will better accommodate the crowns or fillings with time. In the meantime, you can consult your dentist on the most effective remedies to alleviate your pain and discomfort, allowing you to maintain your overall well-being.
Teeth Grinding When Sleeping
When you grind your teeth in your sleep or subconsciously when awake, it creates friction that causes tooth enamel erosion. Continuous grinding makes your teeth more sensitive, as they are more exposed to stimuli than patients who do not grind their teeth.
Overall, teeth grinding can also weaken your teeth's enamel over time and make you more susceptible to other dental conditions. Your dentist will therefore aim to provide treatment to deter you from grinding your teeth. Your tooth sensitivity will also reduce over time, giving you a chance to fully recover.
The Diagnostic Process
When you schedule your first consultation, your dentist runs several checks and asks a few questions to determine your medical history. The purpose of asking you various questions is to decide whether or not you have underlying conditions that directly affect your likelihood of suffering from tooth sensitivity. You can therefore expect to undergo the following diagnostic steps before receiving treatment:
A Visual Exam
The first step in issuing a diagnosis is visually examining your teeth. In doing so, your dentist can identify any signs associated with sensitive teeth, including cavities and tooth decay. Additionally, the physical exam allows your dentist to determine how much your enamel has deteriorated, primarily if your tooth sensitivity arises from brushing too hard, using hard-bristled toothbrushes, or taking too much acidic food or drink.
Your dentist also uses various tools to touch-sensitive zones and gauge your reaction to the sensitivity. For example, when they graze against your teeth with a metallic device, they will check your nerve response to the stimuli. Doing this can help indicate the tooth's sensitivity level, giving your dentist more information on the type of treatment to administer.
Undergoing X-Ray Imaging
For patients with cavities and tooth decay, an X-ray procedure may also be necessary to equip the dentist with information about the severity of your condition. Thanks to the information your dentist obtains from the imaging, they can determine whether to provide interim treatment options to alleviate sensitivity before scheduling you for tooth removal or filling placement.
If your case is severe, your dentist can decide to undertake the procedures immediately to prevent your condition from escalating. Additional 3-D imaging may also be necessary, and your dentist will issue a request as they deem fit.
Issuing Your Medical History
Providing your medical history is critical during the initial consultation, as it allows your dentist to understand your case better. They are also in a better position to issue better treatment options if they are fully aware of the primary cause of your condition and how to remedy it.
Important medical information includes whether you are allergic to any medications, as your dentist may issue a prescription as part of treatment. Additionally, you want to disclose information about your current condition and medicines to help you with it.
By giving these details, your dentist can make more informed decisions, mainly if they directly cause sensitivity. For example, patients with acid reflux should consider disclosing these details to their dentists.
Treatment Options for Sensitive Teeth
Once your dentist makes a diagnosis, they can provide treatment options depending on the cause of your tooth sensitivity. Since every patient’s condition is different, the recommended directives may vary. They include:
A Root Canal to Remedy Root Damage
If tooth sensitivity arises from root damage and exposure to the surrounding nerves, you can undergo a root canal procedure to remove decayed root parts. Your dentist can also remove the overexposed nerve parts to prevent excess exposure to stimuli that could perpetuate the tooth sensitivity problem.
A Mouthguard to Prevent Teeth from Grinding When Sleeping
Controlling your tooth-grinding condition is also an effective remedy to reduce and eventually prevent tooth sensitivity over time. Your dentist uses a unique mold to obtain a mouthguard that fits your formula. Once the device is ready, you will receive instructions on how to wear and clean it.
Receiving Medication to Reduce Acid Reflux
Referrals to a doctor with experience treating acid reflux issues are also common, mainly because your dentist specializes in dental health. As a result, your dentist can issue a referral note to an experienced specialist to provide treatment that prevents your acid reflux condition. Over time, you will also notice your sensitivity reducing because you are no longer exposed to high acidity levels.
Filling or Removing Broken and Chipped Teeth
A broken or chipped tooth can cause sensitivity if it exposes your nerves to external stimuli, hence the need to fill or remove it. A removal procedure is only necessary if the tooth has chipped to an unfixable extent. If so, your dentist can also undertake a replacement procedure to avoid missing teeth and gaps in your mouth.
Contact a Dentist Near Me
Food options become limited when you or a loved one has sensitive teeth. You also face additional challenges to your overall well-being that could affect your everyday life. Sensitive teeth can arise from multiple causes, some of which harm your teeth simultaneously. The most suitable approach is a dental checkup to help your dentist understand the main problem and how to remedy it. Afterward, you will receive a care plan to help you maintain good dental health. When looking for a dentist, consider partnering with an experienced, skilled team that understands the various causes of sensitive teeth. Their input and yours will help you avoid severe complications in the future.
At Washington Dental, we provide excellent services to combat various dental conditions, including sensitive teeth. Our skilled and well-equipped team can diagnose you correctly, giving you a better chance of fully recovering. You can also count on us to provide effective remedies to remedy the condition that causes sensitive teeth and to conduct follow-up dental examinations. We are also ready to provide additional guidelines and support for general dental health. If you or a loved one requires treatment for sensitive teeth in Carson, California, and how to remedy the condition, call us at 310-217-1507.