Do I have to live with tooth sensitivity?

Sensitive-Teeth

Although tooth sensitivity can be a problematic and uncomfortable condition, it can generally be eliminated or controlled by determining the root cause of the sensitivity.

Ideally, the tooth enamel covers and protects the portion of the tooth above the gum line. The gum tissue covers and protects the roots of the teeth. When recession occurs, the gums pull away from the tooth root, exposing a surface that is softer than the enamel. Microscopically, the root surface is composed of tiny openings, called tubules, similar to a honeycomb. When exposed to stimuli such as temperature, pressure, sweets, or acids, these tubules transmit the sensation directly to the nerve of the tooth.

If you have suffered from this sensation on one or more occasions, speak to Dr. John M. Hucklebridge, your Plano dentist, about possible solutions for tooth sensitivity.

When tooth sensitivity is mild or inconsistent, you may find relief in using toothpaste that is specially formulated for sensitive teeth. When used consistently, the active ingredients in these pastes can occlude, or plug the openings in the tubules to prevent the transfer of the stimuli to the nerve. It is also helpful to avoid strong or abrasive toothpastes such as whitening pastes.

Another effective solution for managing sensitive teeth is fluoride. Although fluoride is used in municipal water supplies, fluoridated toothpastes, and anti-cavity mouth rinses to prevent decay, it can also plug dentinal tubules to prevent sensitivity. Ask about the highly concentrated fluoride treatments available at your dentist’s office.

In severe cases, when sensitivity interferes with your normal eating or drinking habits, your dentist may suggest a simple surgical procedure to replace the receding gum tissue. When recession has occurred, it is not possible for the gums to grow back or repair themselves. This procedure, known as gingival grafting, utilizes natural or synthetic gum tissue to cover the root surface.

It can be comforting to know that tooth sensitivity can be controlled and eliminated with proper treatment. Schedule your next dental visit, and ask Dr. Hucklebridge about the treatment that is best for you.