Sensible Care for Sensitive Teeth

453078985_db35b80f9bIf you’re one of those unfortunate souls who flinches with the first bite of ice cream or sip of coffee, you may well be suffering from sensitive teeth. Your Bethany OR dentist believes that all patients deserve to enjoy their morning coffee, or an occasional ice cream– and we’re here to help.

How does hypersensitivity happen?

While there are a variety of factors or situations that may lead to hypersensitivity, the underlying cause is the same: the nerves in your tooth are being exposed to extremes of temperature, acidity, or even sticky foods, and this causes “twingeing” and pain. To understand this further let’s work backwards, from the outside of the tooth to the inside:

Your tooth has several layers; enamel, the hardest, protects the crown of your tooth. It is actually the hardest substance in your body! Cementum, another layer, protects the root of your tooth. Under enamel and cementum is dentin, which is less hard, but more importantly– it contains tiny tubules that lead directly to nerves.

When dentin is exposed, either due to a cavity or wear and tear on your teeth, these tubules make it so that the tooth is hypersensitive– the nerve connected to the tooth is feeling way more than it was meant to, and pain results.

So what kinds of problems lead to hypersensitivity?

There are many ways that teeth can become hypersensitive. A few possible causes are:

  • Caries (or cavities)
  • Recessed gums
  • Fractured teeth
  • Fillings that are worn down
  • Gingivitis, or gum disease
  • Worn dental enamel

The good news is: sensitive teeth can be treated.

There are a variety of ways to treat sensitive teeth; we advise our patients to speak with Dr. Austria, their Bethany OR dentist, to find the treatment that best fits them.

A few potential treatments include:

  • Fluoride gel. This is done by Dr. Austria in the Bethany Family Dental Office. Fluoride treatment strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the sharp sensations felt with hypersensitivity.
  • Desensitizing toothpaste. This is an over-the-counter solution that, with Dr. Austria’s recommendation, could be tried by patients with mild symptoms.
  • Crowns or inlays. This is a procedure done by Dr. Austria that corrects flaws in the tooth or gumline that is causing the sensitivity.

Other options could include a gum graft or root canal. At Bethany Family Dental, we work with you to find the best solution and ensure that all procedures are completely understood by our patients.

If you have sensitive teeth, we can help!

No one should experience pain with eating or drinking– there is a solution to hypersensitivity in teeth, and we will work together with you to find it.

And remember, the best way to avoid sensitive teeth is through preventive care and daily oral hygiene. Schedule your next appointment with Dr. Austria, your Bethany OR dentist, now!


Photo Credit: Steven Jackson Photography via Compfight cc