Do you cringe at the thought of taking the first sip of hot coffee or taste of ice cream? Is your enjoyment of hot and cold foods tempered by the flash of pain that comes when you eat them?
If so, you probably suffer from dentin hypersensitivity, or sensitive teeth. This common problem occurs when gums recede and the dentin, or the sensitive part of the tooth, becomes exposed. Microscopic holes in the dentin, called tubules, connect to the nerve and trigger pain when irritated by certain foods and beverages, or by brushing and flossing.
You should see your dentist if you think you may have sensitive teeth. He’ll want to make sure your sensitivity isn’t caused by a dental problem that needs attention. Your dentist may also recommend one of the following treatments to help relieve your symptoms:
- A soft-bristle toothbrush to protect gums.
- A special toothpaste for sensitive teeth that can block contact with the nerve. These products will either seal the exposed tubule openings or reduce the ability of the nerves to transmit pain.
- A fluoride rinse or gel for sensitive teeth. Fluoride treatments may be applied to the sensitive areas of the teeth. The fluoride binds to the tooth and reduces the transmission of sensations through it.
Call your dentist today. The sooner you pay him a visit, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy your favourite foods with a smile.