As the weather heats up this year, our taste buds may cry out for ice cream and snow cones. There is no shortage of cold beverages that would be appealing in a hot DFW summer. But cold beverages are not enjoyable for everyone. Especially if you have sensitive teeth! Ouch! What causes sensitive teeth? And why doesn’t sensodyne work for every sensitive tooth?
Teeth have three layers with the outermost one being enamel. Dentin is the inner layer, and the innermost part contains nerve and blood vessel tissue, known as dental pulp. Dental pulp is affected when a tooth is inflamed. Dentin has small microtubules that contain fluid. These tubules are very sensitive to temperature changes. As enamel wears off for a variety of reasons, dentin gets more exposed to external factors that can cause pain.
Sensodyne contains potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride. Potassium nitrate helps desensitize the teeth. While sodium fluoride helps remineralize the tooth to restore mineral contents to increase tooth hardness. Thereby helping enamel protect the inner layers better. Brushing very vigorously can rub off enamel. Grinding on our teeth has similar effects as brushing too hard.
Our teeth can also become sensitive from chemical erosion. This happens due to eating lemons, sipping on sodas or energy drinks throughout the day, or even from excessive reflux. It is important to have a regular physical evaluation to resolve any potential medical problems that can be harmful to our teeth. In patients with bulimia, the acidic contents presenting in the mouth make enamel softer, thus increasing the risk of a cavity.
Some old dental fillings, or crowns can have leakage, causing fluid to seep into sensitive parts of our teeth. If fillings or dental restorations, are worn, or loose, it is important to have them treated as soon as possible to prevent pain.
When there is a deep cavity or caries lesion, the tooth may not respond to Sensodyne. If the cause of dental pain is superficial, products that contain fluoride, potassium oxalate or potassium nitrate, may help reduce the pain. However, if the cause of sensitivity is apparent during a visual inspection of the mouth, then a filling, crown, or even a root canal treatment or extraction may be necessary. If there is a dark hole in a tooth that appears discolored, then the sensitive tooth can quickly develop worsened pain.