I took a lick of my Dairy Queen last night and I nearly hit the roof! I felt a flash of pain in my front teeth that was crazy painful! It felt like a little electric zing that traveled down into my gums and it hurt! I stopped eating my ice cream, sadly, and realized that I may have a problem with my teeth. I have struggled with this zinging in my teeth when I eat something cold for some time now. I realized that I have sensitive teeth and I think it’s time to visit my dentist for help.
Many people hesitate before eating or drinking things they used to enjoy because they worry about the pain that comes along with that ice cold ice cream or piping hot latte. Having sensitive teeth means that eating or drinking anything with an extreme temperature, whether hot or cold, can cause pain. The pain occurs when the hot or cold touches your teeth and gums. People with sensitive teeth can even experience pain when brushing and flossing.
So what causes our teeth to become sensitive? Do we have to just chalk it up to growing older? Well, years of rough brushing can lead to sensitive teeth for sure, but not everyone’s teeth become sensitive as they age. The Michigan Dental Association (MDA) explains that sensitive teeth occur “when gums recede and the dentin, or the sensitive part of the tooth, becomes exposed.” Ouch! Sounds awful, doesn’t it? The MDA further explains that “Microscopic holes in the dentin, called tubules, connect to the nerve and trigger pain when irritated by certain foods and beverages, or by brushing and flossing.”
So what is one to do if drinking a Slurpee or a Starbucks causes you to yell out in pain? Visit your dentist. Your dentist will determine whether or not you have sensitive teeth but more importantly, your dentist will determine what is causing your sensitivity. Yes, as the MDA explained, your gums may have receded and this could be causing your pain but there are other causes as well.
Your dentist will want to rule out gum disease, which is a very serious infection of the gums and bones that surround your teeth. If left untreated, gum disease can progress to the point where you can lose your teeth. Remember, we are supposed to visit the dentist every six months for a cleaning or a checkup. If you are overdue for a cleaning, you owe it to yourself to schedule your next appointment today.
The best advice to follow on how to protect your sensitive teeth is the advice of your dentist. Some of the things he or she may recommend could include using soft-bristled toothbrushes, special toothpastes made for sensitive teeth, or fluoride rinses. To find a dentist to help you with your sensitivity, visit www.SmileMichigan.com to find a member of the Michigan Dental Association in your area.
Come on people, it’s finally summer! Don’t let your tooth sensitivity cause you to run away from that ice cream truck! It’s time to get help so that we can enjoy our popsicles once again!
Bright Side Dental is a dental group with locations in Sterling Heights, Livonia, Canton, and Royal Oak, Michigan. Visit www.BrightSideDental.com.