You’ve been experiencing tooth sensitivity when you eat or drink hot, sour and particularly cold food items. So is it time to go to the dentist to treat your tooth sensitivity? Of course, it’s always best to see your dentist first to determine the cause of your sensitivity to make sure nothing serious is going on. Here is why:
Desensitizing toothpastes won’t help if your sensitivity is caused by cavities
Teeth can become sensitive when they are developing cavities. This type of sensitivity gets worse as the cavity starts to encroach on the tooth nerve. Once the cavity has finally hit the nerve, the sensitivity turns into serious pain. Using a desensitizing toothpaste will have no impact and postponing dental treatment will only result in a toothache! You need to go and have these cavities fixed, which should also help with the sensitivity as well. Your dentist can best determine if the source of your tooth sensitivity is from cavities or root exposure to best guide you in the right direction.
Desensitizing toothpastes may mask symptoms of gum disease
Your teeth can also become sensitive once you develop gum disease. Gum disease makes you lose gum and supporting bones and your tooth roots become exposed and develop sensitivity. Using a desensitizing toothpaste may actually help out with the sensitivity but it does nothing to stop or treat the progression of gum disease. If you continue to avoid the dentist and simply rely on the relief that the toothpaste provides, then the gum disease is continually progressing and becoming worse. This may eventually lead to your teeth loosening and you could end up losing numerous teeth as a result. You should go to the dentist first to identify and treat the gum disease before beginning to rely on desensitizing toothpastes for additional help.
You can build up resistance to desensitizing toothpastes
Using desensitizing toothpastes for short time periods is typically not an issue. However, using them long-term is not as effective. You will typically start to build up some level of resistance to desensitizing toothpastes over time. If you’re younger and have severe tooth sensitivity, you might want to discuss other solutions with your dentist to see what dental treatments may be available to better address your problem over the long run. These treatments will range from fillings and crowns to gum grafts to name a few.
How do dentists treat teeth sensitivity?
Treatment varies and depends on the actual cause of your tooth sensitivity. Here are some common treatments that dentists can offer you to resolve your tooth sensitivity problem:
If you have very minor sensitivity, your dentist may elect to treat you with non-invasive treatment methods. One option is to place a desensitizing agent, such as Gluma desensitizer, to help block out teeth nerve receptors. Laser has also shown some effectiveness in helping to reduce tooth sensitivity. Finally, your dentist may prescribe you a desensitizing toothpaste or Fluoride gel to help reduce your tooth sensitivity. Keep in mind that these treatment methods typically provide only temporary relief and only help with mild cases of sensitivity and are not effective for more serious ones.
Placing filings to cover your exposed roots
For less sensitive cases involving exposed roots, treatment typically involves placing a filling on the exposed tooth roots. While effective, most of these fillings typically fall off after a few years, leaving you as sensitivity as you were before receiving treatment. Additionally, be sure to stop brushing hard so that the fillings hold up over time.
Crowns or root canals
If you have more severe tooth sensitivity, or if your teeth have severe damaged, then a filling simply will not do. The better treatment option in these more advanced sensitivity cases is to place a crown, or even a root canal, on these ultra-sensitive teeth. The crown will protect the entire tooth and the root canal will remove the nerve, which is the part of the tooth responsible for pain and sensitivity.
A final option to treating sensitive teeth caused by exposed roots is gum graft surgery. The gum graft is place where you have exposed roots to cover these areas and thus reduce sensitivity. This is actually a complicated and costly surgery and is typically reserved for more serious cases. Nevertheless it can cover the exposed teeth areas without the need to grind down and damage your teeth.