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North Vancouver Dentist Sensitive Teeth


Blog by Dr. Gilbert Lee | April 9th, 2015


Sensitive Teeth

A common problem patients express to us when they come to the dentist is that they have areas on there teeth that are sensitive. The usual area where patients have sensitivity is along the gumline on the outside surface of the tooth beside the cheek. This can be sensitive from drinking either hot or cold liquids. This sensitivity is usually caused by the gums receding and exposing the root of the tooth. When the root of the tooth is exposed it is more suceptable to decay and sensitivity. The gums could be receeded from tooth brush abrasion (vigorous brushing), brushing with a tooth brush where the bristles are hard, or periodontal disease (gum disease).
What we usually suggest is to always brush with a ultra soft tooth brush, you do not need to apply alot of pressure on the gums and teeth to remove the plaque. Gently brushing along the gumline at a 45 degree angle and slightly vibrating the brush will help keep gums from further receeding. Also try to reduce your consumption of acidic foods such as sodas, citric fruits, wines, candies, vinergrets etc. If you are unable to avoid these foods we recommend brushing your teeth right after or rinsing with milk that acts like a buffer to nutralize the acid in your saliva.
Brushing your teeth with a sensitive toothpaste will also help, these types of toothpaste have the ingredients in it to reduce sensitivity over time, but in order for these toothpastes to work they have to sit on the teeth for a period of time before the ingredients can be absorbed in the teeth. We recommend taking a little toothpaste with your index finger and rubbing the areas that are sensitive for you and leaving it on for 10 minutes to let the ingredients soak in, then go ahead and brush your teeth.

If you are still having sensitivity after trying these tips what we can do for you is

Topical Fluoride

The dentist can apply a topical fluoride which is called a fluoride varnish on the sensitive areas of your teeth. This is going to help to strengthen the tooth enamel and reduce the pain.

Bonded restorations

When the root is exposed the tooth can become very sensitive. To stop the sensitivity we usually recommend a bonded filling. This will help cover the root of the tooth with a white filling material to decrease sensitivity. Whats nice about these fillings is that none of the tooth needs to be removed only added on. Depending on how sensitive the tooth is freezing may not be needed either! These can last years and may only need to be replaced every couple of years. Not only will this help with the sensitivity it is more consmetically apealing as well.

Gum Graft

If the root of the tooth is exposed from your gums receding. A gum graft can be done. This is where Dr.Lee takes a piece of hard gum from another area in your mouth usually the palet, and places it on the exposed root. The gum will attach when it heals and the root will no longer be exposed. Extra care afterwards should be considered because the gums can receded again if old habits like agressive brushing continue.