Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tips for Taking Care of Sensitive Teeth from Your Redwood City Dentist

Redwood City Dentist
As a local Redwood City dentist, we treat a lot of patients with sensitive teeth. It is common for teeth to become more sensitive over time.  This can make it difficult to eat your favorite ice cream, brush your teeth, and even drink a glass of iced tea.  If you are struggling with sensitive or painful teeth, it is important to understand why teeth hurt in the first place.

Your Tooth Structure
Each one of your teeth has a layer of enamel that protects it from the elements – water, food, and air.  The area of your tooth and roots that is under your gums is protected by a layer of cementum.  These two materials are critical for protecting your teeth and preventing you from feeling pain. Underneath the enamel, your teeth are made of dentin.  There are small holes that run through the dentin to the roots of your teeth.  If you were to look at it under a microscope, it would look like someone took a pen and punched holes through a piece of paper.

Causes of Pain
When the enamel wears away, the dentin is exposed and so are the holes.  When air, food or water touch those holes, you can experience pain.  Enamel wears away through a process called demineralization so the older you are, the more likely you are to experience tooth sensitivity.  As a Redwood City dentist, we also look for signs of infection when determining what the cause of the sensitivity is.  Sometimes it can be due to a cavity or gum disease.  When this is the case, we can treat the condition so that your teeth can start to feel better.

Treatment Options
There are ways to decrease your tooth sensitivity at home.  You can start by using a desensitizing tooth paste.  This will help to reduce the pain by blocking sensations from being sent to the nerve.  Make sure that you use a soft toothbrush and brush your teeth gently.  You should rotate this with toothpaste that contains fluoride since fluoride is a mineral that will help to strengthen your teeth so that they won’t be as sensitive in the first place.  

You can also visit our Redwood City dentist office and request a fluoride treatment.  This will remineralize your teeth.  Some people also have their teeth bonded where a tooth colored material is applied to the surface of your teeth in order to seal in the dentin and prevent anything from touching it. Teeth that are infected need to be treated by having the cavity removed and a crown placed when necessary.  A crown surrounds the tooth like a cap, so this is an ideal option for highly sensitive teeth. 

If your sensitivity is caused by gum disease, you may need an in-depth cleaning or a gum graft in order to heal the area and cover the exposed area of the tooth and roots.  If you are suffering from tooth pain, schedule an appointment so that we can make sure there is no lingering and undiagnosed infection.