You’ve been looking forward to your favorite ice cream bar all day! Finally, you are at home with your feet propped up and you’ve just unwrapped the most perfect fudge bar you’ve ever seen. You bite into it in anticipation only to receive a sharp flash of sudden pain! Surprise! You have a tooth sensitive to cold. With your bottom teeth sensitive to cold, the phrase “I scream for ice cream” takes on new meaning.
Tooth sensitivity is a problem that at least 40 million U.S. adults experience. It could be a sensitive front tooth, or teeth sensitive to air. The pain and discomfort felt in teeth when exposed to certain temperatures or substances is a common dental problem. If you’ve caught yourself thinking, my teeth have been sensitive lately, you’re not alone. The good news is dentists know how to solve sensitive teeth problem, and the pain is temporary.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
If you are one of the unlucky millions who suffer from sensitive teeth, I’m sure this question has crossed your mind. Sensitive teeth can happen to anyone. No one group is more at risk than the other. Some of your more common causes are hot or cold foods, acidic foods, and exposure to air. If you’ve found yourself saying “My teeth have been sensitive lately”, review these other causes of tooth sensitivity:
- Gum recession normally in individuals whose dentin has been exposed due to periodontal disease. The sensitive tooth scenario you might experience due to this could be a sensitive front tooth, bottom teeth sensitive to cold or heat, or front teeth sensitive after brushing
- Plaque buildup. The sensitivity could be due to plaque buildup on the root
- Gingivitis, which causes inflamed and sore gum tissue that lead to the exposure of the tooth’s root. Gingivitis and other gum diseases are some primary causes of sensitive teeth and gums
- Using a hard-bristled toothbrush or brushing too hard can start to wear the enamel down. This leads to gum recession and causes the dentin to become exposed. Brushing too hard and/or using hard bristles is identified as one of the causes of sensitive teeth and gums
- Grinding your teeth can wear down and create tiny cracks in your enamel. The tooth sensitivity could be attributed to teeth grinding
- Long-term use of an over-the-counter mouthwash that contains acids can cause dentin to be exposed. This causes increased tooth sensitivity, or existing tooth sensitivity to become worse
- Cracked teeth can get filled with bacteria from plaque. This causes the pulp of the tooth to become inflamed. In this case, alerting your dentist the sensitive tooth can help prevent abscess and infection
- Dental procedures can often cause temporary sensitivity. Procedures can cause teeth sensitive to hot or cold temperatures. Teeth sensitive to air is also possible. If you experience a sensitive tooth after dental crown replacements, professional cleaning, or tooth restoration procedures, it should disappear within four to six weeks
Sensitivity After Teeth Whitening
We all want that nice bright beautiful smile. That quest sometimes leads to teeth whitening treatments. The appeal is that they can be done either at the dentist office, or in the comfort of your home. The downfall is the same harsh chemicals that are removing stains from your teeth are also removing enamel. A reduction in enamel leads to tooth sensitivity. If your tooth suddenly became sensitive or you noticed the sensitive tooth after teeth whitening, consider using desensitizing gel before the whitening treatment. It won’t completely eliminate the pain of a sensitive tooth after a teeth whitening treatment, but will help to reduce the pain levels.
Sensitive Teeth Treatment
If you have increased tooth sensitivity, tooth sensitivity at gum line, or your tooth suddenly became sensitive, you want help now. The first thing you want to know is does tooth sensitivity go away. According to the former president of the D.C. Dental Society, Dr. Margaret Culotta-Norton, “Sensitive teeth never completely disappear,”. She continues by saying, “Symptoms may be less or even seem to go away for a while but unless the reasons why a person’s teeth become sensitive are completely eliminated the sensitivity will come and go.”
There are a number of different treatments available, but no one treatment is right for everyone. Dentists have their own preferred routine when it comes to deciding how to solve sensitive teeth problem. To assure success in reducing your pain, you should see a dentist for a proper diagnosis on the cause of sensitivity. Treating the sensitivity without identifying the cause could result in the problem worsening. Dr. Bruce Vafa at Smile Angels of Beverly Hills can provide a quick painless yet thorough examination to help pinpoint the cause. There are a variety of sensitive teeth treatment options you can use at home.
- If you grind your teeth, tiny cracks in your enamel can be the reasons for sensitive teeth. Try using a mouth guard to minimize the damage
- Certain mouthwashes containing acid are tagged as one of the main causes of tooth pain and sensitivity. For a simple remedy, try switching to a fluoridated mouthwash
- If you experience pain while brushing teeth, you may be brushing too hard. Another cause is the bristles on your toothbrush may be too hard. Switching to a soft-bristled brush and being mindful of the amount of pressure you’re applying can help to reduce the pain of a sensitive tooth and help you avoid pain while brushing teeth
- Acidic foods can wear away the enamel that protects your teeth. Thin tooth enamel is one of the many causes of tooth sensitivity. Try to avoid food and drinks like wine, fruit juices, citric fruits, candy and sugar, which are high in acidity
- One of the top at home treatments is desensitizing toothpaste. You can try Sensodyne toothpaste for sensitive teeth, or some other brand of fluoridated tooth paste. Also try rubbing a thin layer over a sensitive tooth or area before bed
Dental procedures to reduce tooth sensitivity
- Your dentist can give you a fluoride treatment by applying a fluoride gel or varnish to your teeth. The procedure only takes a few minutes. Fluoride restores minerals to your tooth surface where enamel has been eroded. This is a quick simple solution to address that sensitive tooth.
- If you have front teeth sensitive issues, porcelain veneers may help. Sensitive porcelain veneers can be expected. Luckily, it does go away after a few weeks
- Bonding or dental crowns are another procedure your dentist can perform to repair tooth decay or other flaws that are identified as causes of tooth pain and sensitivity
- If you have tooth sensitivity at gum line, you’re probably experiencing receding gums. Disease-causing bacteria will build up and this causes of sensitive teeth and gums. If this is the case, a surgical gum graft can be performed. This procedure helps protect the root and reduce pain and sensitivity
- Severe tooth sensitivity that does not respond to other treatments may require a root canal. The procedure removes damaged pulp to prevent infection or abscess. You will experience sensitive tooth after root canal, but the sensitive tooth should feel better in about 3 days
Does tooth sensitivity go away?
To answer the question “Does tooth sensitivity go away?” no it never completely goes away. With proper identification and treatment, your sensitive tooth can be managed quite well.
If you have noticed that you have a tooth sensitive to cold, or teeth sensitive to hot foods and drinks, contact your Beverly Hills Dentist, Bruce Vafa DDS. Your initial dental consultation at Smile Angels is complimentary. While there is no permanent cure for sensitive teeth, Dr. Bruce Vafa and staff what causes sensitive teeth, and how to treat sensitive teeth effectively