Posted on 1/25/2020 by Platte Valley Dental Care
|Tooth sensitivity occurs when the enamel of your teeth wears down, exposing the dentin beneath. Gum recession that exposes the root of your teeth is another way your dentin can be exposed.
Within your dentin are tiny tubules connecting to nerve fibers in the center of your tooth. These nerves are meant to be protected from direct exposure to stimuli, and when uncovered, are extremely sensitive to hot and cold stimuli, causing tooth sensitivity pain.
How Does Sensitivity Toothpaste Work?Sensitivity toothpastes will vary by ingredients and mechanisms, and they don't act simply as pain relievers. The most common active ingredients in desensitizing toothpaste are stannous fluoride, strontium chloride, and potassium nitrate.
Strontium chloride limits exposure of nerves by blocking your tubules and essentially 'patching' them, while potassium nitrate increases your stimulus pain threshold and temperature signaling. The newest of ingredients, stannous fluoride, forms a more permanent calcium barrier than strontium fluoride. All ingredients in sensitivity toothpaste rely on consistent and frequent use, in order to be as effective as possible.
What If My Sensitivity Toothpaste Isn't Powerful Enough?If tooth sensitivity is new for you, or it has been going on for more than a week without relief, make an appointment with our office to determine what may be causing it. A routine dentist visit will eliminate certain potential problems, such as loose fillings, cavities, or recessed gums.
In addition, tooth sensitivity that isn't relieved by desensitizing toothpaste may be due to an underlying medical problem, such as acid reflux or GERD, that you would want to address as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your teeth and gums. If your sensitivity toothpaste isn't effective within a few days, medication might be the next step.
Living with tooth sensitivity can make eating and drinking less enjoyable and affect your quality of life. However, there are ways to manage your tooth pain due to sensitivity that may include sensitivity toothpaste, a dental procedure such as a filling, or it may be a sign that there is an underlying condition contributing to your tooth pain. To learn more about your tooth sensitivity, contact our office for a visit.
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