For millions of people, sensitive teeth can make life miserable.  The pain and discomfort make even favorite cold drinks and foods impossible to enjoy.  Pain is often felt more acutely in winter when cold air can cause problems in already sensitive spots.  Tooth sensitivity typically first presents as temporary discomfort when eating cold food or drinks or breathing cold air.  If decay is ruled out as the culprit of sensitive teeth, many people believe there are no good options for treating their pain.  However, in many cases tooth sensitivity can be treated quickly and successfully.

     When tooth decay is not leading to tooth sensitivity, gum recession is often the cause of the problem.  The gums cover the roots of teeth like a protective blanket, but when gums recede the underlying roots may be exposed.  The three most common causes of gum recession are brushing teeth too hard, poor dental hygiene and the aging process.  It has been estimated that over half of people brush their teeth with too much pressure which can remove significant gum tissue, thereby exposing the tooth roots.  We recommend using a soft bristled toothbrush and brushing gently at the gum line.

      If gum recession is due to brushing too hard, a small amount of the same material used in tooth colored fillings can be placed to fill in areas where the gum has receded.  These bonding agents close the pores of the tooth root.  This simple treatment effectively eliminates sensitivity to cold or hot liquids immediately, pain-free and without the need for anesthetic or the dental drill.  If you have been plagued by tooth sensitivity with no underlying decay issues, this simple bonding procedure may end your discomfort.

     Poor oral hygiene can lead to plaque build-up around teeth and gums.  Over time this plaque hardens into tartar.  Bacteria in this tartar is responsible for gingivitis and periodontal disease that causes gum recession.  The exposed roots contain small pores which lead directly to the nerve of the tooth.  Pain, pressure and cold stimuli can travel down the pores and trigger pain in the tooth nerve.  Often this pain makes it uncomfortable to brush or floss this area of the mouth which can exarcerbate the problem.  When oral hygiene is the cause of sensitivity, a person may need a more frequent schedule of thorough cleanings and periodontal health check-ups.  Often this can relieve pain and sensitivity that have caused problems for years.