The weather is getting warmer and that means all things summer will soon be here, including our Calgary dentist’s favourite treat, ice cream! If ice cream is one of your favourite treats but you wince in pain every time you indulge, you may have dentin hypersensitivity or, simply, sensitive teeth. The good news is you don’t have to suffer from sensitive teeth as there are treatments available by our Calgary dentist for this uncomfortable condition. Our Calgary dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson, D.D.S., explains the causes and various treatment options available for sensitive teeth.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF TOOTH SENSITIVITY?
Experiencing pain while eating something cold, hot or sweet or when brushing or flossing your teeth is a common complaint heard by our Calgary dentist. Although our Calgary dentist usually sees this condition in patients between the ages of approximately 20 and 50, both older and younger patients can also experience tooth sensitivity.
According to our Calgary dentist, tooth sensitivity can be caused by several different factors. Some possible causes include the following:
- Worn enamel, including from over-brushing your teeth (that is, brushing too vigorously or too often) or from grinding or clenching your teeth
- Gum disease, including receding gums
- Cavities (tooth decay or other damage to your teeth)
- Fillings or other dental restorations that need replacement by your Calgary dentist
- Tooth fractures
- Tooth root exposure
Generally, tooth sensitivity begins when the hard, outer layers of your tooth, the enamel and the cementum, start to wear away, exposing the softer, inner part of your tooth called the dentin. In the dentin part of your tooth there are microscopic tubules that run from the dentin towards the inner part of the tooth, called the pulp, which contains nerves. If the dentin is exposed by losing its protective layers of enamel and cementum, then external stimuli such as hot or cold foods or even your toothbrush can trigger the nerves inside the pulp, which results in a sharp pain in one or more of your teeth. Sometimes this pain is short but, in some cases if your sensitivity is extreme, this pain can linger longer and cause considerable discomfort.
HOW WILL OUR CALGARY DENTIST TREAT TOOTH SENSITIVITY?
Fortunately, there is treatment available by our Calgary dentist for sensitive teeth. This treatment by our Calgary dentist will depend upon the cause of your teeth sensitivity. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, our Calgary dentist may recommend the following treatment, depending upon the cause of the tooth sensitivity:
- Root canal treatment. This type of treatment may be recommended by our Calgary dentist if your tooth sensitivity is severe and persistent and other treatment options have not worked.
- Desensitizing toothpaste. This specialized toothpaste which is generally available at most grocery stores and pharmacies contains special ingredients that act by blocking the transmission of painful sensations from the tooth to its nerves. According to our Calgary dentist, this type of treatment often requires several applications over the course of several days to see results. Further, if your tooth sensitivity is caused due to damage to the tooth, the use of a densensitizing toothpaste may only be a temporary solution and further treatment may be required from your Calgary dentist. Our Calgary dentist always recommends that you use a toothpaste that has the Canadian Dental Association’s Seal. This Seal is issued by the Canadian Dental Association to products which it has confirmed has the benefits claimed by a particular manufacturer. For a list of dental products which has the Canadian Dental Association’s Seal, including toothpastes, mouth rinses and toothbrushes, see their website.
- Fluoride gel. The application of a fluoride gel by your Calgary dentist will help to strengthen your enamel and may reduce tooth sensitivity.
- Tooth restoration. If your tooth has decay, a worn filling or worn enamel, it may be necessary for your Calgary dentist to place a new filling, crown or veneer on the tooth to cover and protect the exposed dentin.
Of course, one of the best ways to avoid having to suffer from the discomfort of tooth sensitivity is good old-fashioned prevention. This means ensuring you and your family adhere to a proper and consistent oral healthcare routine, including brushing your teeth at least twice per day, flossing at least one per day, and seeing your Calgary dentist for regular annual check-ups and dental hygiene cleanings. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, make an appointment with our Calgary dentist who can test to determine which tooth is the culprit and make recommendations to treat your tooth sensitivity.
WHAT ABOUT TEETH SENSITIVITY CAUSED BY WHITENING?
If you have ever whitened your teeth, either with an at-home teeth whitening kit or at the office of your Calgary dentist, you may have experienced teeth sensitivity. Teeth sensitivity caused by teeth whitening is not the same as teeth sensitivity caused by exposure of the dentin layer of your tooth. With teeth whitening, the active ingredients in the whitening product are thought to penetrate the tooth, causing tooth sensitivity. To combat this tooth sensitivity, our Calgary dentist recommends brushing with a teeth desensitizing toothpaste for one week prior to whitening your teeth, which may help to reduce any sensitivity caused by teeth whitening.
Our Calgary dentist located in beautiful Kensington/Sunnyside/Hillhurst in NW Calgary is available to see you at an appointment time that is convenient for you, including early mornings, evenings and even weekends. Call us today at 403.283.4252. We want your smile to last a lifetime!
This blog post written by our Calgary dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson, D.D.S., is for informational purposes only. It is not to be taken or used as a substitute for dental, medical or other professional advice, treatment or diagnosis. Always ask your dentist, physician or other healthcare professional for advice before altering your diet or healthcare routine. Individual patient needs and oral healthcare concerns vary so please consult your dentist for more information about your specific dental health requirements.
Copyright 2021: Dirk A. Thompson Professional Corporation operating as Advance Your Health Dental. Dr. Dirk A. Thompson, D.D.S., is a general dentist in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.