Any type of pain or discomfort in the mouth can be concerning, and it may leave you wondering if you have a serious dental problem or simply sensitive teeth. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between the two, and getting relief from the discomfort will depend on the cause. It’s important to see your dentist in Sparks as soon as possible if you’re experiencing any pain, especially if it’s new or comes on suddenly. If a problem is left alone, it can get worse. In the meantime, let’s take a look at how you can tell if you have sensitive teeth or perhaps a bigger problem.
Signs of Sensitive Teeth
There are some telltale signs of tooth sensitivity, and most commonly they occur when eating or drinking something hot or cold. Think back to the last time you drank something hot or when you bit into a cold popsicle. Did you feel a zing of pain through your teeth? There’s a good chance you just experienced the most common sign of tooth sensitivity. However, there are other symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore, including:
- Quick bursts of pain when eating or drinking something sugary or acidic
- Pain during brushing or flossing
- Pain when biting down or applying pressure
Even though these symptoms are often common with tooth sensitivity, it’s important to remember that some of these symptoms can overlap with signs of other problems and you should always seek advice from your dentist in Sparks.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
Many things can cause sensitive teeth. Usually, tooth sensitivity is a result of either enamel erosion or gum recession, both of which can cause the insides of teeth, including the nerves, to become exposed. When this happens, every time something hits those nerves, you will experience that shooting pain. The main causes of enamel erosion and gum recession include:
- Brushing or flossing too hard
- Eating foods high in sugar or acidity
- Teeth grinding
- Poor dental hygiene
When is Sensitivity a Sign of Something Serious?
It can be hard to tell when tooth sensitivity is a sign of something serious, but if it’s left untreated, the pain will increase and the problem will get worse. Sensitivity can also be a sign of:
- Broken, cracked, or lost fillings
- Tooth decay
- Cracked or broken tooth
This is why it’s so important to see your dentist sooner rather than later.
How to Reduce Sensitivity
The good news is that there are treatments available, but which one is appropriate for you depends on your individual situation. Some treatment options include:
- Dental Restorations
Dental restorations such as fillings, crowns, inlays, or onlays may be the best way to relieve tooth sensitivity if you have decay, a failing previous restoration, or a broken or cracked tooth.
- Root Canal
There are times when a root canal may be the best option to relieve tooth sensitivity. This treatment will remove the roots and the nerves of the affected tooth, giving you instant relief.
- Other Options
Your dentist in Sparks may also recommend some changes to your oral hygiene habits. This can include changing your toothpaste, adding a desensitizing rinse, using a different toothbrush, and applying fluoride treatment at your appointments.
Our teeth are essential to our health and well-being, but unfortunately, they can also be one of the most fragile parts of our bodies. Cavities, broken or missing teeth, and gum disease all weaken your teeth and can cause you serious problems down the road if they’re not taken care of properly. Thankfully, there are many steps you can take to strengthen your teeth so that they last a lifetime and stay healthy. These seven methods from your dentist in Sparks will help you have strong teeth that will last you a lifetime!
1. Brush & Floss
One of the most important and easiest things you can do to keep your teeth strong is to brush and floss them regularly. Your dentist in Sparks recommends brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day. This duo of brushing and flossing will help remove dangerous bacteria and plaque from not only the surfaces of the teeth but in between the teeth as well. If bacteria and plaque are allowed to build up on teeth, they will produce an acidic byproduct. This acid will wear down tooth enamel and can leave teeth at greater risk for decay.
2. Don’t Forget Your Tongue
Our tongues have a ton of tiny nooks and crannies for bacteria to hide, and it’s important to remove these cavity-causing culprits. The best way to do that is to gently brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. This can remove even more bacteria and can also make you less likely to experience bad breath.
3. Reduce Sugar & Carbs
We all know that dentists don’t like sugar, but what’s that have to do with carbs? Well, the truth is, our bodies break down carbs into glucose and they can act a lot like sugar. So when you’re looking for smile-smart foods to eat or snacks in between meals, try to limit your intake of sugary treats or those high in carbohydrates. Too much sugar or too many carbs can feed plaque bacteria and increase acid production, again increasing the risk of weakening teeth.
4. Treat Grinding
Many people grind their teeth in either times of stress or when they’re sleeping. Most of the time, they may not even realize they’re doing it. But teeth grinding can lead to a whole host of dental problems, including wear and tear of enamel. If you think you grind your teeth, talk with your dentist in Sparks about the best ways to stop grinding in order to protect your teeth.
5. Don’t Ignore Reflux
Although reflux, indigestion, and heartburn are digestive problems, they can still affect your oral health. These conditions can cause stomach acid to enter the mouth which can damage enamel. If you have reflux or other digestive concerns, we recommend talking with your doctor about treatment options.
6. Stay Hydrated
Many Americans don’t drink enough water, but we should all do our best to drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water every day to stay hydrated. Not only can being hydrated help you feel better overall, but it’s also beneficial for both your overall health and oral health. Drinking water helps neutralize acids, keep bad breath away, and wash away bacteria.
Besides taking good care of your teeth through a great oral hygiene routine, eating a well-balanced diet, and drinking plenty of water, there’s one more thing you should do in order to protect your teeth — see your dentist in Sparks at least twice a year. Professional dental cleanings will help remove plaque and tartar buildup that could wear down enamel and exams can help catch any problems before they turn into complex concerns.
If you do have weakened enamel, don’t fear. Your dentist can help you control erosion and talk with you about treatments and any additional steps you can take at home to keep erosion at bay.