How to Treat Sensitivity

Eating ice cream is one of the finest joys in life during the summer months. But do you find yourself avoiding this creamy treat because of how the cold affects your teeth? To start with, sensitivity to cold is a pretty common occurrence. It can happen due to thinning enamel or exposed root surfaces. Sensitivity can also be caused by cavities and infection so be sure to rule those things out by visiting your dentist. There are several ways to help fight the cold, both at home as well as professionally applied medications.

The best ways to prevent your cold sensitivity is to start at home. First off, you may want to change your toothpaste. Many people now a days want a brighter and whiter smile, so they use whitening toothpastes. These pastes usually contain harsher abrasives to better remove plaque and stains from your teeth. When used over long periods of time, these pastes can also remove your enamel which ends up leaving the teeth sensitive to hot and cold. In changing your toothpaste look into switching to a sensitive toothpaste. The sensitivity toothpastes work by blocking the channels that transmit the cold to the nerves in your tooth. The most common paste I recommend is Sensodyne. Sensodyne has a great track record and is the first place I start when a patient comes into our office with no signs of cavities but still has sensitivity. If you have tried switching toothpastes and it hasn’t helped enough, you can also pick up a new Crest product called Sensi-stop. The Sensi-stop strips are placed onto your tooth like a white strip but instead of a whitening gel, they contain a desensitizing agent. What is nice about these strips is a single ten minute application can last for over a month. In my experience, patients that have tried the Sensi-Stop strips have found relief from everyday sensitivity.

Have you tried the home remedies and haven’t found relief? Now it’s time to get serious and visit the dentist for some professional help. In the dental office, we can apply a fluoride varnish. This thick paste adheres to your tooth and helps to build up a barrier between your nerves and the cold. Many times a fluoride varnish application at every cleaning visit is enough to ward of sensitivity and it has the added bonus of fighting tooth decay and cavities. In areas of significant wear we may be able to place a sedative filling that creates a permanent barrier over the root surface or worn enamel. This barrier insulates your tooth and seals it from getting sensitive to temperature.

No one should have to avoid their favorite foods due to sensitivity. If you are having issues with sensitivity give our at home methods a try. If the at home methods don’t work, give us a call and we can get your into the office to see if professional treatment is needed.

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