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Are your teeth sensitive?

Do you avoid ice cold drinks or hot foods in certain areas?  Does coming to the dentist cause you anxiety because you are waiting for that “ZING!”?

Toothbrush Abrasion

Gums and tooth structure have been worn away leading to exposed root surface and sensitivity.

Tooth sensitivity is typically seen in areas where the gums have receded exposing the root surface.  This may be caused by toothbrush abrasion or an incorrect bite.  When the root surface is no longer protected, small tubes that go from the outside to the inside where the nerve is located are exposed or open.  When left open these small tubes can be easily stimulated and trigger pain.  Another form of tooth sensitivity can be caused by teeth grinding due to the excessive force and trauma on the teeth.  We do not want to confuse tooth sensitivity with decay or fractured teeth, so an exam should be performed to diagnose the cause.

We want to help.  Schedule an exam today so we can diagnose the cause of your tooth sensitivity.

We know tooth pain can be very uncomfortable, and one of our goals every day is to make our patients as comfortable as possible, even at home.

What can you do for tooth sensitivity?

Use a sensitive toothpaste formulation containing Potassium Nitrate and Fluoride.  It typically takes 6-8 weeks of continuous use for the toothpaste to effectively plug the small tubes, and block stimuli causing pain.  There are many formulations and brands, so find one you like and stick with it!

Crest Sensi-Stop strips are new on the market and we have seen great results!  These are small band aid like strips that can be placed over the root surface for ten minutes and the results can last for a month.  Due to the small size these typically work best when only one or two teeth are effected.

Using an extra soft toothbrush and avoiding excessive pressure or scrubbing.  You don’t want to continue to wear away the gums and root surface.  We also recommend the Sonicare power brush to our patients with sensitive teeth as it has extra soft bristles and prevents hard scrubbing while still cleaning well.

Avoid acidic and sugary foods that further the destruction of tooth surface.

The above suggestions will help manage the “ZINGS”.  Sometimes we need to address and correct the cause of the problem.  For some people an incorrect bite can contribute to the wear at the gumline.  For this we offer Invisalign trays to move the teeth back into correct alignment.

If sensitivity is thought to be caused by teeth grinding then we would recommend making you a custom made night guard.

We also offer a special polish we can use prior to having your teeth cleaned to reduce discomfort.  Let us know at your next appointment where your sensitive areas are.  

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About Laura McCaslin

Laura graduated with top honors from the University of Maine at Augusta/Bangor dental hygiene program in 2011. Since then she has been pursuing her passion in dental hygiene and continued her education graduating with a Bachelors degree in Applied Science and Biology minor. She joined the Seasons of Smiles team after having her daughter in 2014.


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