Tag Archives: dental health tips

Tooth Sensitivity: The Hot and Cold Truth

Let’s say you are craving your favorite ice cream or a piping hot slice of pizza. The thought made your mouth water, and you had to have it. So you go to the store or the pizzeria, buy your food, and bring it home. You sit down and get ready to enjoy your food. You take one bite and…OUCH!!!

That first bite triggered a sharp pain in one of your teeth, and now your favorite food becomes your mouth’s worse enemy. You just learned the hard way that you may have tooth sensitivity.

What Is Tooth Sensitivity?

Before getting into what tooth sensitivity is, let’s start with an overview of the anatomy of your teeth. Healthy teeth have a layer of enamel protecting the crown of the tooth – the portion of the tooth above the gum line. The layer just under the gum line, or cementum, protects the tooth root. Then there is the dentin, which is the layer under both the cementum and enamel. 

Tooth sensitivity is often a result of the wearing away of your tooth’s enamel. As enamel wears down, the dentin’s tubules, or microscopic canals, are exposed and can allow hot and cold, acidic, or sticky foods to reach the nerves, creating hypersensitivity.

What Can I Do About My Tooth Sensitivity?

According to the American Association of Endodontists, some symptoms and remedies include:

  • Momentary sensitivity to hot or cold foods – Fleeting issues might not signal a serious issue unless sensitivity remains for an extended period of time. Try using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. Brush with a soft/extra-soft toothbrush up and down. Brushing side to side can wear away exposed root surfaces.
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods after dental treatment – Recent dental work could possibly inflame the pulp inside the tooth, causing temporary symptoms. Wait two to four weeks and have your dentist or endodontist check for more serious problems if it persists.
  • Sharp pain when biting down on food – Pain may be caused by decay, a loose filling, a crack in the tooth, or possible damage to the pulp tissue. Speak to your dentist right away about any severe pain.
  • Lingering pain, typically lasting more than 30 seconds, after eating hot or cold foods – Pulp may have irreversibly been damaged by deep decay or physical trauma. See your dentist or endodontist.
  • Constant and severe pain and pressure, swelling of gums, and sensitivity to touch – The tooth may be abscessed and causing infection to the surrounding tissue and bone. Take over-the-counter (OTC) medications and schedule an appointment to see your endodontist for evaluation and treatment.
  • Dull ache and pressure in upper teeth and jaw – Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can cause this. A sinus headache may cause this as well. Consult your dentist for bruxism. Try OTC medication for a sinus headache and see your endodontist or physician if the pain worsens.

If you have any issues stemming from tooth sensitivity, call us to schedule an appointment to get to the “root” of the problem.

Dental Health Tips for Parents of Teens

By the time your child is a teenager, they’ve lost all their baby teeth and hopefully have gotten over any fear of the dentist. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to be concerned about your teen’s dental health. Your teenager’s mouth is changing as rapidly as the rest of their body is at this age, and teens have their own set of dental health concerns. Take a look at some important dental health tips for parents of teenagers.

Keep an Eye Out for Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the last of the teeth to emerge, and they come much later than other types of teeth, usually somewhere in the mid-to-late teen years. Your teen may experience pain and discomfort when these teeth break through the gums.

For a long time, it was common practice to remove the wisdom teeth as soon as they emerge, and some dentists still routinely recommend it, while others take a wait-and-see approach. Wisdom teeth may become impacted, unable to fully break through the gums, or they may be positioned in such a way that your teen can’t reach them to brush and floss them thoroughly. This can lead to decay and infections if the teeth are not removed. It’s important to be on the lookout for wisdom teeth, so your teen’s dentist can determine if they need to be extracted.

Encourage a Healthy Diet

By the time they become teenagers, kids have much more control over their own diets than they did when they were small. This can result in some teens overindulging in junk food, sweets, and sugary sodas or energy drinks. These treats are OK in moderation, but if your teen overdoes it, a poor diet can take a toll on their teeth.

Talk to your teen about the importance of maintaining a diet that’s good for their body and for their oral health. Stock the fridge and pantry with tooth-friendly snacks and drinks. Remind them that their teeth need to last a lifetime, and to do that, they need a healthy diet full of nutrients.

Think Twice About Oral Piercings

It’s normal for teens to experiment with their looks, and some experimentation is harmless. However, oral piercings, such as tongue bars and lip rings, may not be so benign.

The mouth is full of bacteria, and it’s not uncommon for mouth piercings to become infected. Teens can also crack a tooth by biting down on a tongue bar or other oral piercing. Encourage your teen to discuss the risks of oral piercings with their dentist before making any decisions.

As a parent, it’s your job to ensure that your teen makes good dental health decisions during this crucial period in their development. This can protect them from painful and expensive dental problems in the future.