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When Coffee and Ice Cream Are the Enemy: The Reasons for Tooth Sensitivity

July 29, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — drkoch @ 12:31 pm
a young woman holding a cup of coffee and covering her mouth because of pain radiating from tooth sensitivity

There’s nothing worse than taking that first sip of morning coffee and being met with a sharp, shooting pain in your teeth. Immediately reaching for your mouth, you wonder what could be causing such a high level of discomfort. Tooth sensitivity is real, and millions of people experience it. If you want to get back to enjoying your cup of joe, favorite ice cream, or even a nice, chilled glass of water, read on to hear what an emergency dentist has to say about treatment for sensitive teeth.

When Pain Occurs: The Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Before we discuss the reasons for tooth sensitivity, let’s take a look at what actually happens when it occurs. Teeth are comprised of multiple layers. When the dentin (the layer beneath the enamel) or cementum (that covers the tooth root) becomes exposed, the nerves can cause immense pain to radiate throughout your tooth when subjected to anything hot or cold.

Why would these tooth layers ever be unprotected? The reasons are many, but the most common include:

  • Gum disease causing root exposure
  • Receding gums often caused by overly aggressive brushing
  • Bruxism, otherwise known as teeth grinding or clenching
  • Abfractions, which are notches at the neck of teeth caused by heavy bite forces

How to Treat Sensitive Teeth

When it comes to treating sensitive teeth, you may think regular over-the-counter medication (the same you might use for a toothache) will help stop the pain. The reality is that you need something that will truly combat the problem, not just the symptoms.

Fortunately, your dentist can recommend a wide array of tips and products you can use to minimize the effects and help you to resume normal activity without fear of pain. A few things that can help you to enjoy your favorite foods and beverages again include:

  • Switching to an electric toothbrush. This will do most of the work for you and help you avoid brushing too hard.
  • Using a toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth. Consisting of desensitizing agents, the contents will create a barrier around your tooth and keep the nerve from being irritated by hot or cold items.
  • Rinsing with an alcohol-free mouthwash, as this will decrease the chances of irritation to your teeth.
  • Restorative dental treatment in the form of bonded tooth-colored fillings, veneers, or crowns to cover and protect worn or sensitive teeth

Naturally, these changes do not occur overnight, and it will require multiple applications of desensitizing toothpaste before you begin to notice a difference. However, if the pain does not stop, you may benefit from talking to your emergency dentist about a prescription toothpaste or restorative dental treatment.

Take control of your oral health and say “so long” to sensitive teeth. By using these recommended tips and products, you’ll be back to enjoying your morning coffee in no time!

About the Author
Dr. Darren Koch earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, graduating with honors in 2001, from The University of Buffalo. As a trusted dentist, he and his team believe in the power of preventive care. He also strives to offer patients the right tools, information, and recommendations to ensure proper oral health is achieved at home. When helping a patient suffering from tooth sensitivity, Dr. Koch can provide the right solutions to help minimize the effects and improve the situation. If you or a loved one are battling sensitive teeth and need help, contact us at (919) 859-6633.

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