4 highly effective treatments for Sensitive Teeth
Although Christmas seems long gone, the harsh frosts and cold weather of winter seems to be here to stay at least for the next few weeks.
If you suffer from sensitive teeth, the prospect of chill winds might set your teeth on edge. You’re not alone! It’s thought that 1 in 8 people suffer from sensitive teeth, meaning they regularly experience pain when consuming hot or cold food and drink or from tooth brushing.
There are many treatments available to relieve tooth sensitivity, whether you’ve suffered for months or years. Check out this list to find out what treatments your dentist might recommend to resolve your tooth sensitivity.
Switch to a soft bristled toothbrush and use toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth
There are several causes of tooth sensitivity but two of the most common can be caused by overzealous brushing. While it may seem logical, brushing your teeth harder or more vigorously can wear down the tooth’s protective layer (enamel). This exposes the highly porous dentine of the teeth, making your teeth more sensitive. Bad tooth-brushing technique can also cause gum recession, exposing the roots of your teeth. This can also cause sensitivity, as the roots of your teeth do not have enamel to protect them and therefore react to hot, cold and sweet foods
With specialist sensitive teeth toothpaste, such as Sensodyne or Colgate Pro-Relief, available in supermarkets and chemists, many people can manage their sensitive teeth as part of their oral healthcare routine. Every toothpaste is different, so be sure to try multiple brands to find the one that works for you. While these toothpastes don’t offer instant relief, their effectiveness builds over time, so it is important to use them twice a day continually. You can also massage the toothpaste into the sore spots on your teeth for further relief.
Alongside this, it is important to ensure you use this toothpaste alongside an effective brushing technique with a soft bristled toothbrush to ensure you don’t cause further damage to your teeth.
Use high fluoride treatments, as prescribed by your dentist
Your dentist may prescribe a course of high-fluoride treatment if your tooth sensitivity is due to enamel erosion and desensitising toothpastes have not worked. Fluoride naturally re-hardens the enamel of your teeth, which helps soothe tooth sensitivity and helps prevent dental caries.
There are several different treatments available. High Fluoride toothpastes are available on prescription for treatment courses of up to 3 months. High fluoride mouthwash is also popular and can be purchased over the counter (ask your dentist for their recommendations). Your dentist will tell you how to use the prescribed toothpaste or mouthwash, but usually these are used as part of your normal oral healthcare routine.
Your dentist may also apply some high fluoride varnish or gel to your teeth during your session to give you some extra relief.
Dental sealant treatments or a surgical gum graft for exposed tooth roots
Dental Bonding (also called Dental Sealant) can be used to create a natural-looking barrier on the roots of your teeth. This treatment involves applying tooth-coloured resin to your exposed tooth roots. The finished product blends in seamlessly with your smile and lasts between five and ten years.
In more extreme cases caused by severe gum recession surgical gum grafts (also called gingival graft or periodontal plastic surgery) involve taking tissue from somewhere in your mouth (usually the roof of your mouth) and using this to build up the gum of the affected tooth. This covers up the root and improves gum health and makes your gum line more attractive, in addition to resolving sensitivity.
Consider a root canal
If other treatments are not giving you the comfort you need and you are regularly experiencing discomfort from a particular tooth, your dentist may suggest getting a Root Canal.
Root Canal treatments remove the sensitive nerves from the tooth. While this treatment may seem drastic, it will allow you to live without tooth sensitivity in the treated tooth. Your dentist will advise you whether this treatment would be right for you.
Root Canals are also the only effective treatment for teeth that are painful due to trauma or cracks. If your teeth are broken or excessively painful, be sure to visit your dentist as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
Whatever treatment you decide on to treat your tooth sensitivity, it is important to ensure you take care of your teeth to prevent further enamel erosion and avoid recurrence of tooth sensitivity. If your diet is full of acidic and sugary foods (e.g. citrus fruits or chocolate) or drinks (e.g. soft drinks), consider cutting back, as this is a major contributor to enamel erosion. You should also ensure you maintain a good oral healthcare routine, brushing twice a day and flossing, with regular dental check-ups with your dentist.
If you’re concerned about tooth sensitivity or tooth pain, always visit your dentist to ensure you receive tailored advice and find the right treatment for you.