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4 Ways to Treat Sensitive Teeth

February 18, 2015

Dental school

Whether you plan to enroll in a dental assistant school or have already begun your studies, you will need to know the causes of and treatments for sensitive teeth. There are many reasons why patients experience teeth sensitivity, ranging from the type of food they eat to the way they sleep. Continue reading to discover some of the most common causes of sensitivity and the latest treatment methods.

The Right Toothpaste for the Job

Dental school graduates know that there are plenty of products on the market for treating sensitive teeth – and one of the most accessible is toothpaste. Pastes that contain an active ingredient called potassium nitrate are designed to sooth and prevent tooth sensitivity. Sensitivity occurs when a tooth’s enamel has been worn down and its dentin is exposed. The dentin contains tubules that run directly from the tooth’s center (where the nerves are located), and when exposed, these tubules can be stimulated by changes in temperature or specific foods (cold, sour etc.). Potassium nitrate helps treat tooth sensitivity by blocking these tubules and reducing their exposure.

Mouth Guard Protection

Students pursuing dental assistant training learn that there are various other ways that teeth can become sensitive. Bruxism, for example, is one very common source of sensitivity. Bruxism is a condition in which individuals grind, grate or clench their teeth. This typically occurs during sleep, but may also happen unconsciously during the day. One thing that is certain about bruxism is that it usually leaves teeth feeling extremely sensitive. Dental assistants know that protecting the teeth by wearing a mouth guard is one way to prevent any pressure, damage, and jaw pain.

Fluoride Application

Fluoride can be applied to the teeth to help strengthen their enamel and dentin. As a result, some of the pain and discomfort caused by sensitivity can be reduced. Treatments that contain the highest level of fluoride (and might provide the most relief) are available at a dentist’s office. A trained dental professional might apply fluoride to a patient’s teeth as a gel, foam or even a varnish. While the varnish is painted directly onto the teeth, the foam can be put into a mouth guard that is then worn for approximately five minutes. Gel fluoride can be applied either of these ways.

Food Limitations

Sometimes prevention is the best form of treatment – and a little prevention can actually go a long way where tooth sensitivity is concerned. Dental professionals understand the dangers of exposing teeth to copious amounts of acidic foods and beverages, like fruit juice, red wine, oranges and pickles. Since acid literally attacks the enamel, dentists and dental assistants recommend limiting the intake of these foods to avoid sensitivity. In fact, acidic foods and drinks should be consumed with caution even for those who do not suffer from sensitive teeth.

Do you know any other ways to treat or prevent sensitive teeth?

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