Sensitive teeth are an extremely common problem among our adult patients. While there are steps we can take to help you manage sensitive teeth, there are also things you can do at home when getting to the dentist is difficult. During this unusual time of a global pandemic with business closures and social distancing, seeking dental treatment for sensitive teeth may not be the best option.
In this blog, we will advise you how to address sensitive teeth on your own until you can visit your dentist.
Tooth sensitivity that is not caused by cavities or cracks is sensitivity that you can safely manage and treat at home. If the cause is large cavities or cracked teeth, you will not experience any true relief until you receive the necessary treatment that the dental problem requires.
In the absence of cavities and cracks, the most common cause of sensitive teeth is exposure of the roots of teeth due to gum recession. The roots of teeth do not have a protective enamel coating, so they “feel” sensations that they shouldn’t. The dentin that makes up the roots of teeth is softer and more porous than enamel, allowing hot and cold stimuli to reach the nerve within the tooth. In order to treat this type of sensitivity, you must strengthen the exposed dentin.
In some cases, people experience hyper-sensitive teeth due to irritation of the nerves within the teeth caused by heavy clenching and/or grinding of the teeth. Sensitivity is also a side effect of certain teeth whitening products.
In order to fight sensitivity, you must strengthen your enamel and dentin with products that work to re-mineralize hard tooth structure. There are several ingredients in toothpaste that work to harden enamel and dentin, including fluoride, nanohydroxyapatite, potassium nitrate, ACP and arginine. Some of these ingredients are only available in prescription-only toothpastes. Others are for sale over-the-counter or online.
Here are some great toothpastes for fighting sensitivity.
Toothpaste isn’t the only way to get powerful anti-sensitivity ingredients onto your teeth. Companies that manufacture oral care products have developed other ways to help you fight sensitivity. The most noteworthy are these products:
Because some people experience sensitive teeth and do not have exposed roots or weak enamel, they may not feel relief from using products that remineralize the teeth. When the cause of sensitivity is irritation of the nerve inside the teeth, you must eliminate the cause of that irritation. The most common scenario is heavy teeth clenching and/or grinding at night. The remedy for this is wearing a nightguard to separate the teeth and take the pressure off, removing that irritation and allowing the nerve to “calm down”.
You can try an over-the-counter mouthguard, but you should understand a few things first. Because over-the-counter mouthguards must be a one-size-fits-all type of material, the material itself is usually soft and flexible. This softness can cause some people to actually clench or grind with more force. The squishiness of the material can make you want to squeeze into it. Because it still separates the teeth, you may notice a change in the sensitivity. You might notice an increase in muscle force, facial tension, headaches, etc….
The best remedy is a custom-fitted, hard acrylic nightguard made by your dentist. These appliances will fit perfectly and last through several years of heavy clenching, protecting your teeth all the while.
Call your nearest Premier Dental of Ohio location today to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists. Make sure to let your Premier Dentist know which products you have tried and which ones gave you relief. We will then work with you on a plan for the best long-term sensitivity relief.