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Fix tooth sensitivity
Sensitive teeth can cause even the most basic activities to be painful. Brushing your teeth, eating, and even drinking can cause sharp pain in sensitive teeth; while the pain is temporary, it can be quite unpleasant. Teeth usually develop excessive sensitivity because of worn down enamel or exposed roots, though pain or discomfort in the teeth can also be caused by worn fillings, chipped or cracked teeth, gum disease, or cavities. Your dentist can help you if you are bothered by tooth sensitivity. Depending on the cause, your dentist may recommend one of many types of treatment. Desensitizing toothpaste, when used regularly, can block the pain that comes with sensitive teeth. There are many over-the-counter desensitizing toothpastes available so ask your dentist which of these might work best for your specific needs. Fluoride treatments may also help strengthen tooth enamel and reduce the pain of sensitive teeth. Your dentist may provide these fluoride treatments in-office, or they may provide a prescription for a home fluoride treatment to be applied in a custom tray.
If your tooth sensitivity is caused by exposed root surfaces, these exposed surfaces can be treated with bonding resin, which covers and protects the exposed root surfaces. If your dentist chooses a bonding procedure for your sensitive teeth, a local anesthetic may be used. If the roots of your teeth are exposed because you have lost gum tissue, your dentist may recommend removing a small amount of healthy gum tissue from one area of the mouth and surgically grafting it to the area where the roots are exposed, protecting the roots and decreasing sensitivity.
If these less-invasive treatments don’t provide relief and your dentist determines that your tooth sensitivity is caused by an infection in the soft pulp inside the tooth, they may recommend a root canal. A root canal procedure cleans the damaged pulp out from deep inside the tooth and can be an involved process, but it is considered the most successful treatment for tooth sensitivity.
To prevent tooth sensitivity from recurring or appearing in the first place, the best course of action for preventing tooth sensitivity is to brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste, and floss daily. To brush properly, use gentle, circular strokes on the surfaces of the teeth and the biting surfaces, being careful to brush the gumline gently -- just enough to clean the area but not enough to damage this soft tissue. Your dentist can show you proper brushing technique when you go for a routine visit. Try to avoid using an abrasive toothpaste, and, if you habitually grind your teeth, talk to your dentist about using a mouth guard. Drinking acidic liquids, such as carbonated beverages, citrus juices, or wine, can slowly degrade the enamel on your teeth, so consider using a straw or alternating with drinks of water to rinse the mouth and rebalance the acid levels in the mouth. If you have questions about your tooth sensitivity or need a recommendation, be sure to note these in advance of your next dental appointment, and don’t be afraid to ask for guidance or recommendations from your dentist.
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