Just because you’re sensitive, doesn’t mean your teeth have to be!
Tooth sensitivity is caused by the movement of fluid within tiny tubes located in the dentin (the layer of tissue found beneath the hard enamel that contains the inner pulp), which results in nerve irritation. When the hard enamel is worn down or gums have receded, causing the tiny tube surfaces to be exposed, pain can be caused by eating or drinking, touching your teeth, or exposing them to cold air.
The excessive consumption of acid-containing foods and beverages, bulimia and acid reflux can also result in erosion of the hard enamel and sensitivity due to acid in the mouth. Also, abrasive ingredients found in some whitening toothpastes and sodium pyrophosphate (the key ingredient in tartar-control toothpaste), may increase tooth sensitivity.
What can I do about sensitive teeth?
Use a desensitizing toothpaste (like Sensodyne) containing fluoride and either potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. These ingredients help block the transmission of sensation from the tooth to the nerve by creating a protective layer over the tubules. We can also take it to the next level by incorporating a Rx toothpaste, either Clinpro or MI paste. We at Life Smiles, a dentist in Plymouth, MN, also recommend professional fluoride treatments every 3-6 months depending on your sensitivity severity.
To help with tooth sensitivity while getting your teeth cleaned we also offer a Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief with Pro-Argin pre-prophy treatment. It is clinically proven to provide instant and lasting dentin hypersensitivity relief for 4 weeks.
Avoid using hard-bristled toothbrushes (use ONLY soft) and brushing your teeth too hard, which can wear down the tooth's surface and expose sensitive spots. The way to find out if you're brushing your teeth too hard is to take a good look at your toothbrush. If the bristles are pointing in multiple directions, you're brushing too hard.
In most cases, these products must be used on a regular basis for at least a month before any therapeutic benefits may be noticed.