At Dalseth Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we know that tooth sensitivity affects a lot of people. While the reasons may vary, there are many different ways to help those with tooth sensitivity:
1. One reason that tooth sensitivity may occur is because of gum recession. Exposure of the root surface can dramatically increase sensitivity. An exposed root has open channels into the nerve sensors, which can be activated by hot, cold and sweets. Regular use of a sensitivity tooth paste with the active ingredient 5% potassium nitrate can close or restrict these channels, which can help reduce tooth sensitivity.
2. Clenching and grinding of teeth can also contribute to sensitivity. If force is placed on the teeth, it can aggravate the nerves. Some theories state that clenching and grinding is one cause of gum recession and abfraction (the loss of tooth structure from force) of the tooth. Abfraction lesions are small cracks or notches in your teeth caused by chewing. Clenching your teeth, as well as chewing and biting put pressure on your teeth. Over time, this pressure can cause cracks and splits in the enamel, or outer layer, of your teeth.
Abfraction lesions can show up as notches on the chewing points (cusps) of the back teeth. They can also show up as lines or cracks on the outside of a tooth. You can see them if you look in a mirror and shine a flashlight or bright light on your teeth. The lines usually run up and down the length of a tooth. You also can have cracks in the neck of a tooth, which is the part closest to, or just under, your gums.
Wearing a bite splint can reduce the force on your teeth by decreasing the contraction force of your chewing muscles. We can also give you some self-help tips to prevent this common stress release at our office.
If people have extreme sensitivity at the time of their cleaning, we can apply a special polishing paste to protect the teeth which can last a couple of months. We can also apply a topical anesthetic to the gums and teeth that help relieve sensitivity during your cleaning.
Another way to help reduce tooth sensitivity is with a prescription toothpaste, such as Prevident 5000. It contains 5 times the amount of fluoride found in regular toothpaste. It can work like potassium nitrate to reduce sensitivity, while also greatly decreasing your risk of cavities.
If you have any questions about tooth sensitivity, feel free to give us a call, ask us on Facebook, or ask us at your next appointment.