Ahhhhhh… We have made it to Summer! As we enjoy the beautiful warm weather and the sunshine this time of year seems to demand throwing caution to the wind and indulging in all kinds of cold treats. Who doesn’t love an ice cream cone on a hot day? Or a Popsicle or a freezie? Kids are notorious for asking for these cold treats and as adults we often find ourselves enjoying them as well.
Besides the obvious diet factor (“I shouldn’t have that ice cream, I need to be in a bathing suit tomorrow!”) in most cases these occasional food indulgences don’t hurt our overall health or well-being.
However, for some people these cold treats cause them such tooth pain and gum sensitivity that they either eat them with trepidation or skip them all together.
WHAT CAUSES TOOTH SENSITIVITY? Sharp pain upon drinking a cold drink or eating a cold treat can occur for a number of reasons. First, a cavity may be present. Tooth decay can’t always be seen with the naked eye and only a dental x-ray can help us determine if a cavity is present.
Secondly, gum recession may be causing the tooth sensitivity. Gum recession can occur for reasons out of your control such as tooth position in the mouth or even for genetic reasons (we can always blame our parents for everything, can’t we?). Gum recession may also occur due to habits such as teeth grinding or aggressive tooth-brushing (be sure to always use a SOFT toothbrush and often electric toothbrushes can help take away that urge to “scrub”).
TREATMENTS FOR TOOTH SENSITIVITY If a cavity is present the obvious thing to do is to fix it by having a filling placed. Waiting too long when a cavity is present only allows the cavity to get bigger and the bigger a cavity is the more likely the tooth is going to need a root canal. It’s always easier (and cheaper!) to fix a smaller cavity than it is to fix a big cavity.
If grinding your teeth is causing your teeth to be sensitive then a nightguard will help. In our office we make a variety of nightguards, the most common of which is the NTI. Please see our webpage on NTI’s to learn more about them.
If aggressive tooth-brushing is causing your tooth sensitivity you need to first make sure you are using a SOFT toothbrush! (Yes, hard toothbrushes are still sold and they are terrible for your gums.) Also, if you are using a hand held manual toothbrush you may want to consider switching to one of the electric ones. The electric ones do all of the work for you and you’re supposed to simply hold them against the teeth and let them do their thing. Electric toothbrushes really help take away that urge to scrub! Lastly, some areas of gum recession necessitate a simple bonding procedure which can dramatically decrease (if not eliminate) tooth sensitivity.
TOOTHPASTE AND SENSITIVE TEETH Believe it or not your choice of toothpaste is important when it comes to preventing tooth sensitivity. First and foremost, be sure to avoid whitening toothpastes. Whitening toothpastes often only make the sensitivity worse. A toothpaste made specifically for sensitive teeth is recommended. There are many on the market and we don’t necessarily recommend any one over the other. The one thing you need to realize, however, is that you need to give the toothpaste time to work. Simply using it once will not “cure” the tooth and gum sensitivity at all. Also, if you find that these over the counter toothpastes DO work for you, then you need to be sure to continue to use them. Discontinuing use will inevitably result in the sensitivity returning. If you have tried the over the counter toothpastes and they simply aren’t doing anything for you, a prescription toothpaste may be in order. Like toothpastes you can get in the store, there are many brands and varieties but we do indeed have our favorite one and we currently have it in the office for your convenience.
CALL TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT SO YOU CAN FEEL BETTER If you are suffering from tooth sensitivity, we encourage you to call us today to schedule an appointment so that we can help you figure out the best course of action for you to take so that you can start enjoying all the cold treats that summer has to offer.
Are you looking for a dentist in the Farmington, CT area? We are always accepting new patients and we look forward to meeting you. Call us today at 860-676-2288 and we will help you become part of the Farmington Village Dental family.