Are you suffering with tooth sensitivity? Sweet or sour foods and drinks, hot or cold foods and drinks, deep cavities or fillings and even hot or cold temperatures can often trigger this issue. Tooth sensitivity is a common problem, with an estimated 45 million Americans dealing with it on a regular basis. And, if you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, tooth sensitivity is not uncommon. At Horner Barrow Orthodontics, we want you to have the facts you need to help you avoid tooth sensitivity.
Tooth sensitivity usually occurs when the enamel on the outside of the tooth is eroded, or wears away, exposing the dentin layer of the tooth. The dentin layer is very porous, with tubes leading to the nerve center of the tooth. When those tubes are open or exposed, they react to changes in temperature and different types of foods.
During orthodontic treatment, a patient experiences discomfort due to the pressure that is being placed on your teeth by the braces. The level of discomfort varies from patient to patient. This type of tooth sensitivity is not permanent, and will usually last a few days. But, if you’re not wearing braces, we’ve listed some of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity.
Most Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
• The MOST common cause is due to over-brushing. If you brush your teeth vigorously, using a brush with stiff bristles, you will soon brush away your gum line. As your gum line recedes, it exposes porous root surfaces, which can cause some of your teeth to become extremely sensitive. Unfortunately, as we get older, gum recession is a part of the natural aging process. Brushing with a soft bristled toothbrush (in an up and down motion) can help reduce your risk of developing sensitive teeth.
• Acidic foods such as coffee, sodas, fruit drinks, wine, and citrus fruits. Steer clear of sour patch kids and jolly ranchers candies. Be sure to rinse your mouth with water right after consuming acidic foods or drinks to dilute the acid.
• Abrasive toothpastes, or brushing more than three times a day can also wear away the tooth enamel. Wait at least one hour to brush your teeth after you’ve had acidic foods or drinks. The acid softens tooth enamel, making it more prone to erosion during brushing.
• Teeth whitening products used at home and professionally applied by your dentist. Properties of peroxide, which is one of the main ingredients in most tooth-whitening products, have been shown to irritate the tooth nerve. This irritation or inflammation causes symptoms such as cold sensitivity and a tingling sensation. However, this will improve over time.
• Bruxism, (tooth grinding) can also be a contributing factor to tooth sensitivity. If you grind your teeth, wearing a mouth-guard while you sleep may also help prevent wearing down the enamel that can lead to sensitive teeth.
Ways to Eliminate Discomfort from Tooth Sensitivity
Regardless of what is causing the sensitivity, a good dental routine is the best way to ensure a pain-free day, everyday. Over-the-counter toothpastes for sensitive teeth can sometimes help alleviate the issue.
If you are experiencing extreme tooth sensitivity while wearing braces, be sure to mention it to Dr. Kevin Horner or Dr. Keri Barrow during your next orthodontic appointment in our Sioux Falls, SD office. We can recommend alternative solutions during your treatment, no matter what the cause.
At Horner Barrow Orthodontics, we are committed to delivering excellent quality orthodontic treatment to each and every patient. To provide a friendly, caring, and pleasant atmosphere that will ensure our patients feel relaxed and confident about placing their orthodontic care in our hands.