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Understanding Sensitive Teeth

Stabbing pains or dull aches in your teeth or gums can be signs of tooth sensitivity. This condition is also known as dentinal hypersensitivity and affects as many as one out of eight people in the United States. Many people do not realize that there are effective treatments available for this condition. If you or any member of your family have shown any of the warning signs of tooth sensitivity, making an appointment with a qualified and knowledgeable dentist in Northern New Jersey is one of the best ways to deal with this issue and to restore your teeth to better health.

Symptoms of Tooth Sensitivity

The most common sign that you may have sensitive teeth is pain or discomfort. This may occur when your teeth are exposed to very warm or very cold drinks or to acidic substances. Some people may experience pain when brushing or flossing their teeth. If you have experienced any of these symptoms, your local dentist is a great resource for information and treatment options that can protect your teeth from damage and can reduce the pain or discomfort associated with tooth sensitivity.

Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can occur for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common underlying causes of sensitive teeth include the following:

  • Some people may have a genetic predisposition to sensitive teeth. This can make it much more likely for these individuals to experience pain or discomfort when teeth are exposed to heat or cold. Talk to your dentist if you think this might be your case.
  • The wearing down of tooth enamel can make the nerve endings inside your teeth more exposed to the changes of hot or cold temperatures. This can occur because of tooth decay, overly enthusiastic brushing or the use of a harsh or abrasive toothpaste.
  • Tooth enamel can also be damaged by grinding or clenching your teeth. This generally occurs at night and can cause other issues that include the misalignment of teeth, headaches, and even broken teeth in extreme cases.
  • The foods you eat can also play a major role in causing or worsening tooth sensitivity. Acidic foods can cause the enamel of your teeth to break down and to become more sensitive to pressure and temperature conditions. Foods like tomatoes, pickles, and lemons are among the most common culprits in creating sensitivity issues for dental patients.
  • Alcohol in mouthwashes can also trigger issues for sensitive teeth. If this occurs, look for a mouthwash with a lower concentration of alcohol to reduce the impact of these episodes of pain or discomfort. You can discuss the right mouthwash options with your dentist to determine which product is right for you.
  • Gum disease typically results in receding gums and increased sensitivity issues around the areas affected by this dental condition. Gum disease is mostly preventable, but when it starts, it is hard to rid yourself of its negative effects.
  • Injuries to your teeth or recent dental procedures may play a role in inciting temporary tooth sensitivity. If this persists beyond a week, however, you may want to consult with your dentist to determine if treatments are available and to make sure that an infection is not the real cause of your discomfort.

The right dental care can go a long way toward preventing or alleviating the underlying reasons for your tooth sensitivity. Treatments are available that both reduce pain and address the cause of your issues to promote better dental health for you and your family members.

Treating Sensitive Teeth and Gums

The most effective way to treat your sensitive teeth will generally depend on the reasons for the sensitivity:

  • If you grind your teeth, your dentist may prescribe a custom mouth guard that will prevent damage to your tooth enamel while you sleep. These night guards can offer real protection for teeth that could otherwise be broken or worn down by clenching or grinding your teeth at night.
  • Your dentist may recommend a mild toothpaste and a soft toothbrush to replace abrasive versions of these dental care products. In some cases, a toothpaste formulated specifically to reduce sensitivity may also be recommended to help you manage this issue more effectively. Switching to a mouthwash without added alcohol can also have a real impact on the degree of discomfort you experience because of tooth sensitivity.
  • Avoiding acidic foods will often have a positive effect on sensitive teeth by reducing the erosion of tooth enamel caused by these items. If you cannot eliminate acidic foods from your diet, be sure to brush and rinse your teeth thoroughly after consuming these foods and drinks.
  • Your dentist may be able to apply fluoride to your teeth. This can help to harden tooth enamel, which can provide a more effective layer of protection between the inside of your teeth and the rest of your mouth. Fluoride applications and the use of fluoride toothpastes are helpful in preventing tooth decay and keeping your tooth enamel strong and functional.
  • Cracked, chipped or damaged teeth should be treated promptly in your dentist’s office. This can reduce the likelihood that you will develop tooth sensitivity and will help you keep your teeth healthier and brighter for many years into the future.
  • Brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing at least once a day will keep your gums and teeth healthier. This can significantly reduce your risk of developing sensitivity of the teeth because of gum diseases.
  • Regular visits to the dentist are recommended not only to spot the early warning signs of tooth sensitivity but also to lower your chance of tooth decay and the problems associated with this process. Your dentist will examine your teeth and gums thoroughly to spot any signs of cavities or gum disease to keep your teeth healthier for many years to come.

Working with a dental office in Northern New Jersey can help you to manage all types of issues with your teeth and gums. You and your family can benefit from the experience and knowledge of these dental professionals to keep your smiles as bright as possible and your teeth healthy and strong for many years to come.

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