If your teeth hurt when you eat ice cream, your ice cream may be trying to tell you something: Call your Cincinnati dentist. The same goes for if your teeth hurt eating or drinking anything cold or hot: ice water, ice, hot chocolate, soup. You’ve got a sensitive tooth, which means there’s something going on with your teeth you really should get checked out.
What is Tooth Sensitivity?
Whenever your gums recede or the protective enamel on your tooth wears out, tiny microscopic tubes located in the layer of tooth below the enamel are exposed. As the tissues within these cells are stimulated by hot or cold sensations, it hurts more than it should. Sometimes it can get so bad that cold air hurts the tooth. Hello Cincinnati winter!
Your enamel may also have cracks in the surface. Extreme temperatures can cause these cracks to expand or contract, which can expose sensitive areas and cause pain.
Can It Be Treated?
Yes, and there’s plenty you can do on your own. Yet it’s still important to visit your Cincinnati dentist for a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan. He or she may suggest:
- Desensitizing toothpaste containing special compounds that block sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve. Several applications may be necessary for relief.
- A crown, inlay or bonding to correct decay.
- Fluoride gel to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce sensation.
- Surgical gum graft to restore gum tissue and the root and reduce sensitivity.
- Root canal. This is done in extreme cases for severe sensitivity when other approaches fail.
Treatment You Can Do at Home
There’s plenty you can do on your own to address tooth sensitivity (after you’ve called your Cincinnati dentist for a visit of course!)
First, switch to a soft toothbrush. (These are toothbrushes that literally say “soft” on the package.) This is a good idea regardless of whether you have sensitive teeth. It will help protect the enamel and the gum line. Our Cincinnati dental office always recommends that our patients brush with a soft toothbrush.
You may even want to try a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth such as the Crest Pro-Health Sensitive Shield toothpaste. These toothpastes cover up exposed dentinal tubules to prevent cold and hot foods from stimulating the tooth