Do you find your teeth suddenly or gradually have started to hurt? Discomfort can take many forms—either spontaneous and/or sharp, such as after biting down or when exposed to hot or cold things, or you could experience a more generalized ache like a sore muscle.

There’s no shortage of over-the-counter products advertising relief for sensitive teeth. The wide variety of options clearly illustrates what a common issue it is for a lot of people. But, while you can buy any number of products, successfully treating the problem means you need to identify the cause—and there are many to consider.

The most common cause is missing or worn enamel. When the outer layer of a tooth has worn away, the exposed dentin underneath can trigger your nerves to feel pain. So, what causes enamel to wear away?

  • An extremely acidic diet
  • Bruxism (regularly grinding or clenching your teeth)
  • Dental decay or a cracked tooth
  • Acid reflux

Like exposed dentin, receding gums and periodontal disease can reveal some of a tooth’s roots and the cementum that covers them. Cementum helps anchor your teeth, and it can be sensitive if exposed. Much like a tooth that is cracked or has a cavity—you should get a dentist’s evaluation for treatment and relief.

Some people experience sensitivity after at-home whitening treatments and are not good candidates to continue using these products.

Unfortunately, dental work can also sometimes cause temporary sensitivity. In this case, it usually resolves on its own. Regardless, if you experience sensitivity after an appointment, please call our office so we can help you monitor the situation and provide relief if it does not go away.

Teeth sensitivity is not always the sign of a problem, but if you can’t resolve the issue at home, call us! In the meantime, here are a few things you can try:

  1. Switch to a toothpaste specially made for sensitive teeth.
  2. Rinse with an alcohol-free mouthwash with fluoride to help repair enamel.
  3. Eat a healthier diet with less sugary and acidic food.
  4. Use a straw when drinking acidic beverages like lemonade or even water with a slice of citrus.
  5. If you aren’t already using a toothbrush with soft bristles, switch to one that does. (Also, don’t brush so hard!)
  6. Take a break from using whitening products.

If you try some or all of these suggestions, it might take some time for you to get complete relief. If you are experiencing discomfort after a couple of weeks with these modifications, please schedule an appointment to see us. Also, please call us immediately if the pain is sharp or worse when actively biting or chewing. There are many additional things we can do at our office to diagnose the issue and help you feel better. We’re always here to help!

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