Tooth sensitivity is no laughing matter. If you're struggling with tooth sensitivity, you may be curious if you can treat it at home and when you should seek out the help of your doctor. Below is a basic overview of tooth sensitivity, as well as what you can do to treat it yourself and when you should seek professional help.
Causes of Sensitivity
Sensitivity of the teeth is a sign of enamel erosion or gum recession. These things can occur for a number of reasons, but the most common reason is related to poor dental hygiene.
Sensitivity occurs when the nerves that reside within your teeth are exposed. This can occur over time if teeth aren't properly cared for or as a result of an injury that causes gum recession or otherwise exposes the nerves within. Sensitivity can range from mild to severe depending on the amount of exposure, cause of sensitivity, and exposure to irritants.
What You Can Do at Home
For minor sensitivity at-home treatment is possible. Such treatments include the regular use of a fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse, and meticulous care of your teeth.
Fluoride is a common ingredient in toothpastes and other dental treatments because it strengthens enamel and can lessen sensitivity. Your doctor may prescribe an extra strength rinse or they may recommend one that can be bought over-the-counter. Since sensitivity is due to enamel erosion, it's important to rinse with water following meals, especially those high in sugar or acidic foods. Brushing soon after eating can cause further erosion, so it's best to rinse first and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing.
When to See Your Dentist
If sensitivity continues or worsens, it's best to seek the professional help of your dentist.
You may have a more severe form of enamel erosion or gum recession than you thought, and this may require further care that only a dentist can provide. It that's the case, there may be better treatment options involved under the care of your dentist, such as placement of crowns or a root canal. If you're concerned with the pain and sensitivity and nothing you do at home is working, it's important to see your dentist immediately to avoid further damage.
Tooth sensitivity is a common problem among people of all ages. To learn more about sensitivity and how it can be treated and prevented, consult with a dentist like Discovery Dental.