Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common dental complaints for millions of adult Americans. Fortunately, we can treat most sources of sensitivity at our office in Tempe, AZ. Severe tooth sensitivity can limit the food and beverages you consume on a regular basis, affecting your quality of life. At Value Dental Centers Tempe, we perform a thorough examination and ask detailed questions to determine the cause of the problem. We can then treat the sensitivity and address the root cause.
Symptoms and Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
When your enamel becomes worn down or your gums recede, exposing the dentin layer of your teeth, you may experience sharp pain when you consume hot or cold beverages or when brushing your teeth. There are many different potential causes of tooth sensitivity, including:
- Regularly consuming acidic foods or beverages, such as citrus fruits and juices, which can erode your tooth enamel.
- Brushing too forcefully, which can cause both enamel erosion and gum recession.
- Overuse of over-the-counter teeth whitening
- Chronic nightly teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can wear down and damage your teeth, resulting in sensitivity.
- Advanced gum disease, which often results in receding gums, leaving sensitive areas of the tooth exposed.
What Treatment Options are Available?
Your specific treatment will depend on the cause of your sensitivity. Your dentist may recommend a variety of different remedies to address the tooth sensitivity itself, such as using a soft-bristled toothbrush and switching to a specialized toothpaste. You should continue brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day, however, you should do so gently to avoid further irritation. He or she may also recommend consuming acidic beverages through a straw to avoid further enamel erosion.
Additional treatments will vary depending on the extent of enamel erosion and the root cause of your sensitivity:
- Dental bonding may be recommended to protect teeth from further enamel erosion.
- If your sensitivity is the result of chronic teeth grinding, a custom-made night guard can protect your teeth from further damage.
- If gum disease is the cause of your sensitivity, a thorough scaling and root planing treatment may be performed to eliminate bacteria and help the gums heal. In more severe cases, a soft tissue graft may be required to extend the gum tissues and cover exposed tooth roots.
What is the Difference Between Sensitivity and a Toothache?
Though both conditions are painful, the causes are much different. Sensitivity is usually due to eroded enamel, receded gums, or other damage and typically affects multiple teeth. For example, several of your front teeth may be sensitive and you might experience pain in those teeth when you drink hot coffee. A toothache, on the other hand, is often isolated to just one or two teeth. A toothache may be the result of a cavity, infection, crack, fracture, or other internal damage. Depending on the cause of the toothache, it may require emergency treatment.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
Even the most diligent patients can suffer from tooth sensitivity. Some over-brush or brush too often, while others suffer simply from the foods they eat and the beverages they drink. Regardless of the cause of your tooth sensitivity, it is important to understand that it does not have to become part of your daily life. It is a very treatable condition, so contact Value Dental Centers today to schedule an appointment.