Desensitizing Dental Treatments


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Sensitive teeth can be bothersome and painful.


It can make regular activities like brushing, eating, or drinking uncomfortable, causing sharp, temporary pain in your teeth. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), tooth sensitivity is the second most common dental symptom behind a toothache.


What causes tooth sensitivity?


Sensitive teeth are typically caused by worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots (gum recession). However, it may be caused by tooth decay, a cracked or chipped tooth, a worn filling, and periodontal (gum) disease. It can also be the result of your actions like lack of dental hygiene, vigorous or harsh scrubbing while brushing, or simply the careless consumption of high acidity foods and drinks that end up removing small amounts of tooth enamel over time.


What are desensitizing treatments?


Many people believe they must live with and just adapt to the discomfort caused by tooth sensitivity. Thankfully, this is not the truth. There are a variety of treatments for teeth sensitivity available. Depending on the circumstances, your dental professional may recommend one of the following treatment options:

  • Desensitizing toothpaste – After several applications, these toothpastes may help block pain associated with sensitive teeth. There are a variety of products available over-the-counter. They contain ingredients such as strontium chloride and potassium nitrate that help block the transmission of pain signals from the tooth surface to the nerve (pulp) of the tooth.
  • Fluoride treatments – Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel. It can be delivered by self-applied topical fluoride (prescription-level) or professionally applied topical fluoride in the form of high concentration rinses, gels, foams, or varnishes.
  • Bonding – Exposed root surfaces can be sealed by bonding of a tooth-colored filling (composite resin).
  • Surgical gum graft – If the sensitivity is caused by gum recession, a small amount of gum tissue can be grafted to the affected site to cover and protect exposed roots. This often requires referral to a periodontist.
  • Root canals – May be recommended if your sensitive teeth cause severe pain and other treatments aren’t effective. Although this treatment is more invasive, it is considered to be the most successful technique for eliminating tooth sensitivity.

It is important to brush your teeth twice daily with a soft toothbrush while using gentle motions, floss daily, and be careful when consuming highly acidic foods or drinks in order to avoid the re-occurrence of tooth sensitivity.

For any further questions about tooth sensitivity or desensitizing treatments please do not hesitate to ask us.