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If you experience tooth sensitivity, you don’t have to let it prevent you from feeling your best! The reason your tooth hurts is because the sensitive layer—dentin—beneath tooth enamel is exposed. Dentin is the layer under the tooth’s enamel containing microscopic tubules filled with nerve endings. In a healthy tooth, the enamel in a crown protects the more sensitive layer of dentin underneath while cementum protects dentin that reaches below the crown to the roots. These nerve endings feel pain when you eat or drink something that is hot, cold, sticky, sugary or acidic, or even from inhaling cold air by your mouth.

Since plaque and tartar build up can cause gum disease—causing your gums to recede and expose the dentin, make sure to see the dentist twice a year to clean those pearly whites. Our dentists can offer the following solutions:

Dentin sealers: applied to exposed roots.

Fluoride varnish: to paint on for exposed roots.

Composite resins: fillings to cover exposed root surfaces (bonding).

In addition, there are things you can do at home that will also help:

Acid: Limit consumption of acidic foods and beverages like soda, tea with lemon, citrus fruits, and pickles.

Toothbrush: Clean your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently, but thoroughly. Take time to floss in between your teeth, where your toothbrush can’t reach.

Toothpaste: Resist using an abrasive toothpaste. Instead, brush with a desensitizing toothpaste to block off the nerve endings in exposed dentin. If it has fluoride in it this can strengthen enamel as well.

Mouthwash: Rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash to fortify tooth enamel and reducing painful sensations.

Bruxism: Wear a night guard if you grind your teeth while you sleep.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled dentists, Dr. Rumley, Dr. Maness and Dr. Prajapati, please reach out to our Midtown Dental team at 919-847-8074 today!