What Is Tooth Sensitivity?
It is important to tell your dentist or hygienist if you have any sensitive teeth, so that he or she can examine your mouth, see if the problem is tooth sensitivity (dentin hypersensitivity) and help you choose the best treatment. When teeth are sensitive it can be painful to brush them and if you brush poorly because of pain then there is more risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Pain after hot, cold, sweet or acidic food and drinks can also be a sign of decay with a cavity or hole in the tooth, or a sign of a broken tooth, and if this is the case your dentist will treat you with a filling or other treatment.
Can I Prevent Tooth Sensitivity?
You can reduce your chances of getting tooth sensitivity by keeping your mouth as healthy as possible with good oral hygiene to help prevent receding gums and periodontal disease. Brushing and flossing properly as recommended by your dentist or hygienist and using a low abrasion toothpaste can help reduce the chance that you will have tooth sensitivity. A diet that is not acidic also helps prevent tooth sensitivity. Ignoring your sensitive teeth can lead to other oral health problems, especially if the pain causes you to brush poorly making you vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease.
What Can I Do if I Have Sensitive Teeth?
First tell your dentist or hygienist. He or she can help you and see what the best treatment is. It is also important to tell your dentist or hygienist in case the cause is not dentin (root) hypersensitivity and the tooth is sensitive due to a more serious problem.
To treat tooth sensitivity, your dentist or hygienist may recommend that you use a low abrasion toothpaste specially made for sensitive teeth — a desensitizing toothpaste. These toothpastes make the teeth less sensitive if you brush with them twice a day and also contain fluoride to help protect your teeth against decay. Alternatively, your dentist may prescribe a brush-on fluoride gel or a fluoride rinse, or a high fluoride level toothpaste that is specially formulated to make your teeth less sensitive and provides extra protection against decay. These treatments happen at home when you are brushing your teeth and are inexpensive. Other treatments for sensitive teeth that your dentist or hygienist can provide in the dental office are also available. These include treatments that are painted onto the teeth — such as fluoride varnishes and plastic resins, fillings if a lot of tooth area has been lost, and lasers.
You should ask your dentist or hygienist about the best way to treat your sensitivity.
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- Click here for information on Colgate® Sensitive Maximum Strength Toothpaste
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- Click here for information on Colgate® Gel-Kam
- Click here for information on Colgate® Prevident® Varnish