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Sensitive teeth are uncomfortable and can affect quality of life. Fortunately, treatments are available to alleviate the sensitivity. Desensitizing toothpaste is an affordable and easy way to reduce the effects.
Science shows desensitizing toothpaste is an effective way to treat tooth pain caused by sensitivity. However, it does not treat the underlying causes of tooth sensitivity.
Teeth are made of three layers:
Sensitive teeth are most commonly caused by weakening of enamel. As your enamel wears away, it exposes the dentin. Dentin contains tubules that travel to the nerves contained inside the pulp.
The exposure of dentin causes the pain associated with tooth sensitivity.
Desensitizing toothpaste contains ingredients that either block the openings of your tubules or block the pain signals from being transmitted to your brain.
Tooth sensitivity can also be caused by other conditions including:
These conditions cannot be alleviated by desensitizing toothpaste and will need treatment from your dentist.
Desensitizing toothpastes are only effective if they have the proper ingredients.
Key ingredients found in desensitizing toothpastes include:
If you are experiencing sensitive teeth, consult your dentist.
Desensitizing toothpaste only treats the symptoms of sensitive teeth. If it doesn’t help, that’s an indicator of an underlying issue.
Your dentist can perform a full oral health examination and determine the underlying cause of your sensitive teeth. Treating the underlying cause gives you the best chances of eliminating tooth sensitivity.
If you have swelling in your gums, bleeding gums, or extreme pain, see your dentist as soon as possible. These are signs of infection.
According to Dr. Nandita Lilly, one of NewMouth’s in-house dentists, "desensitizing toothpaste can often help tooth sensitivity. However, if you have continuous tooth pain, it's important to see a dentist as there may be an underlying issue that requires treatment."
Other home remedies for sensitive teeth include:
Salt is an antiseptic, so it can help clean your mouth and reduce inflammation. Rinsing with salt water twice a day can reduce pain from sensitive teeth. To use a salt water rinse:
Hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant and antiseptic. It can help heal gums and prevent inflammation. To use:
In many cases, sensitive teeth require more treatment. The type of in-office treatment will depend on the underlying cause.
In-office treatments include:
Fluoride treatment can help strengthen tooth enamel and reduce pain. Your dentist may choose to apply fluoride to the sensitive areas of your tooth. They can also prescribe fluoride that you’ll apply at home with a custom tray.
If your sensitivity is caused by a cavity, a filling can help protect your tooth and cover up the exposed dentin or pulp.
If your tooth roots are exposed, a bonding resin may be used to cover the roots and maintain your tooth’s shape and function.
If gum tissue has been lost from your tooth root, a gum graft may be performed. A small amount of gum tissue can be taken from a different part of your mouth and reattached to the affected location.
A root canal treats problems in your pulp. This is the most invasive technique for eliminating sensitive teeth.
To prevent sensitive teeth, the most important thing is to have a proper at-home oral care routine. This includes:
Other ways to prevent sensitive teeth include:
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