Ice Cream, You Scream: Tooth Sensitivity and You

Let’s paint a picture: it’s summer, and you’re out for a stroll with a young one, maybe your kid or grandkid. You wander past an ice cream shop, and the youngun gets excited; they want a cone. It’s a lovely day, and quite hot, and the little one has been good the whole time; truth be told, you’re feeling a bit peckish too, and you’ve got some pocket change. You buy a cone for both of you; rainbow bubblegum for the little one, and a classic French Vanilla for yourself. Excitedly, you put the cool, sweet dairy to your lips; you open your mouth, take a bite, and OUCH! A shooting pain hits you right where you bit into your delicious treat. You scream, the child beside you starts to panic, drops the ice cream to the ground; chaos ensues.

Tooth sensitivity can be a real pain, but what causes it? There’s a couple of things that might be at the root of the problem; one of them is exposed roots! Roots don’t have any protective surfaces around them other than the gum, so if your gums recede, due to age or gum disease, the exposed roots are quite sensitive to just about anything above or below room temperature. The other potential cause of tooth sensitivity is worn-out enamel. Enamel is the protective layer around the tooth, and when it wears down, teeth are much more sensitive to everything from acidic foods to pressure.

To avoid tooth sensitivity, you need to take proper care of your teeth! Brush twice a day and floss once a day for starters. Until your teeth are back up to snuff, you should avoid eating foods that will trigger a pain response; if you love these foods, don’t fret! With proper care, you’ll be able to drastically reduce your sensitivity. These foods all have a tendency to wear away at tooth enamel anyway, so avoiding them has two perks. Avoid movies that are nail biters; more to the point, try to avoid clenching your jaw at all. Bruxism (the medical term for the habit of teeth grinding) can be a major contributor to sensitivity; night guards can help alleviate this problem, so talk to your dentist!

Occasionally, the cause of tooth sensitivity is a chipped or fractured tooth; if this is the case, go see your dentist right away so they can get the tooth patched up. One of the reasons it’s so important to see your dentist regularly is that you might not even notice a tooth fracture, especially if it’s located towards the back of the mouth; these teeth tend to be incredibly sensitive, so don’t ignore the pain!

Oftentimes, patients who experience tooth sensitivity will be afraid to visit the dentist for fear that it will aggravate the condition. Nothing can be further from the truth; modern dentistry is well equipped to handle pain, and by going to the dentist you’ll be saving yourself a mouthful of hurt. We’re proud to have experienced dentists who are ready to address any of your concerns or fears about oral pain; you’re in good, caring hands.