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Have your teeth been feeling extra sensitive lately? Have you felt a quick, temporary pain when you eat or drink? Even brushing and flossing your pearly whites can cause a short burst of pain if you have tooth sensitivity.

Why does this happen? If your teeth have cracks or chips, or if you have bleached your teeth too harshly, your teeth may complain by experiencing pain. But if you have consistently sensitive teeth, you may have exposed dentin or tooth roots.

Dentin is the layer of the tooth that lies beneath the enamel, it is a bit darker than your enamel, and it can become exposed over time as your enamel gets thinner, both by age and by harsh brushing. One of the first lines of defense would be to use a soft grade toothbrush, and by brushing gently in circular motions, so as to reduce the wear and tear on the enamel, instead of sawing back and forth. Don’t forget to lightly brush near the gum line as well. And while brushing your teeth twice a day is optimum, any more than that and you will wear the enamel down.

If you have been eating or drinking acidic foods such as citrus or tea with lemon, wait awhile before brushing because brushing your teeth with acid in the mouth will also wear away the enamel quicker.

To help minimize tooth sensitivity, you might try using a desensitizing toothpaste and a mouthwash that has protective fluoride in it, and flossing gently. You may also visit our dental office to see what we can do to help if you have severe tooth sensitivity. We can coat exposed root surfaces with bonding resin, and if you have lost gum tissue on a tooth root, we can graft a tiny bit from somewhere else in your mouth and attach it to the exposed area to protect the root.

As always, Dr. Heinritze is here to help you maintain a brighter, healthier smile! Please contact our office at (540) 989-6600 for any questions.