How Dentists Can Work To Treat Sensitive, Painful Teeth

Mar 07, 2022

How Dentists Can Work To Treat Sensitive, Painful Teeth

Sensitive teeth that cause pain when eating certain foods can be challenging to deal with on a regular basis. Most dentists provide basic, at-home care when sensitive teeth come up, such as brushing your teeth with fluoride or desensitizing toothpaste. However, there are fewer discussed options that can be used to treat your sensitive teeth, especially if they become so sensitive that tooth pain is a constant problem that interferes with your daily life. In order to receive treatment, it’s important to understand what normally causes sensitive teeth, what other factors can cause sensitive teeth, and what treatments can be used to reduce that pain. 

Understanding What Causes Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth are normally caused by worn down enamel or exposed tooth roots. Preceding this, bacteria and plaque buildup can gather along the enamel surface and slowly eat away at the enamel over time, especially if constantly fed by sugars, acids, and carbs. Most often, dentists who notice these minor areas of sensitivity will recommend desensitizing toothpaste not only to keep the tooth clean but also to help build up better resistance to tooth nerve activity when interacting with hot and cold temperatures. 

However, there are many other cases where tooth discomfort and sensitivity are caused by other conditions. Cavities, chipped tooth areas, gum disease, and worn-down fillings can also cause tooth sensitivity because all of these conditions are typically caused by the breakdown of enamel from the onset of bacteria. These conditions typically require treatment due to their severity and often require more complex treatments such as crowns, tooth extractions, re-fillings, and periodontal cleanings to remove bacteria and protect the inner tooth. In these cases, it’s always good to get a second opinion if your previous treatment options have not helped you recover from your sensitive teeth. 

Treatment Options Available For Sensitive Teeth 

So, if desensitizing toothpaste isn’t enough to keep the pain away, then what can your dentist do to treat your teeth? Some treatment options can be done, including: 

Bonding Treatment: If exposed roots are present, then in some cases, your dentist can provide a dental bonding material to cover and protect the affected area and help the tooth experience less sensitivity. 

Surgical Gum Grafts: If the tooth’s also been affected by gum disease and lost gum tissue, surgical gum grafts can be used to protect the exposed roots and reduce sensitivity. 

Root Canals: As a last resort, root canals can remove the exposed tooth roots alongside the tooth pulp to completely remove all sensation within the tooth but provide overall pain relief from severe tooth pain and sensitivity. 

However, even while these treatments can be used to treat sensitive teeth, one of the best ways to manage your condition is to brush and floss your teeth continuously. For more information about what treatment options may be best for you, contacting your local dentist can help you find better ways to manage and treat your sensitive teeth. 

April Toyer, DDS, FAAPD

April Toyer, DDS, FAAPD

The team at Lifetime Dental Care brings a full range of services to patients in and around the Woodbridge, VA area. These four doctors bring a range of experience, diverse backgrounds, and professional knowledge together to provide families with a safe and friendly home for their oral health needs.