Tooth Sensitivity

You’ll be the first one to know if your teeth are sensitive. If hot and cold foods and drinks make your teeth hurt, or breathing in cold air sends a twinge through your mouth, then you likely have sensitive teeth. The technical term for sensitive teeth is dentin hypersensitivity. 
 
It’s a common affliction, affecting more than half the population at some point. It can come and go over time, leaving you in sharp pain one day and not noticing it the next.
 
Your teeth feel sensitive to heat and cold when your enamel has worn thinner, or if your gums have receded to expose the underlying surface. The nerve endings that connect to the pulp inside the tooth are sparked, transmitting pain. 
 
Toothpaste
 
If you’re suffering from tooth sensitivity, the first change you should make is your toothpaste. Find one specially made to reduce sensitivity in teeth which has the active ingredient 5% potassium nitrate. This ingredient is the only FDA approved treatment for sensitive teeth. These types of toothpaste are readily available at any retailer and work best when regularly used over an extended period of time. 
 
Brush Softly
 
Sensitivity can result from brushing too hard. Using a hard-bristled brush or scrubbing too hard can cause abrasions on your teeth and make your gums recede away from the gum line. Erosion of the enamel is caused by too much pressure and powerful scrubbing. These abrasions and erosion expose the nerve endings in the pulp of your tooth. Gently remove plaque with careful technique without promoting sensitivity.
 
Brush and Floss Daily
 
Practice good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing twice per day, rinsing every day with an antibacterial mouthwash, eating a healthy diet, and regular dental visits can help lower the risk of developing tooth sensitivity. Any behavior that promotes tooth decay will increase your likelihood of sensitivity. 
 
Grinding Away 
 
If you have a habit of grinding your teeth, particularly in your sleep, consult your dentist for a treatment recommendation. Over time, teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can wear down your teeth, exposing the dentin nerve endings. It is a common contributor to tooth sensitivity and other complications. 
 
Correct Toothpaste 
 
A common addition to commercial toothpaste is a whitening compound called carbamide peroxide. It is an effective whitener but achieves whiteness by employing abrasive materials. Carbamide peroxide promotes sensitivity in those who are predisposed, so if you’re starting to feel the first twinges, switch out your whitening paste for a sensitive one. 
 
If you have any questions for your cosmetic dentist in Summit, NJ please call our office at (908) 522-1155.

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