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Is your ice cream too cold to eat? Five ways to treat sensitive teeth

Do you hesitate before sipping a steaming hot cup of coffee or enjoying an icy cold dessert? Does brushing or flossing make your wince from time to time? If so, you may suffer from sensitive teeth.

CARY, N.C. – Do you hesitate before sipping a steaming hot cup of coffee or enjoying an icy cold dessert? Does brushing or flossing make your wince from time to time? If so, you may suffer from sensitive teeth. Whether due to cavities, tooth decay, older fillings, gum disease or exposed tooth root, the North Carolina Dental Society recommends visiting a dentist as early as possible to identify and fix any discomfort.

In heathy teeth, an important layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth while a thin layer of a substance called cementum protects the tooth root. Underneath these layers is a tissue called dentin. When dentin loses its enamel or cementum covering, heat, cold and acidity can reach nerves and cells within your teeth, causing hypersensitivity.

“The good news is that sensitive teeth can be treated,” said Dr. Meenal Patel of Preston Dental Loft in Cary. "Give your dentist a call today if you are experiencing any pain. He or she can recommend the best treatment to reduce your discomfort.”

Depending on what is causing your sensitivity, your dentist may suggest one of these treatments:

  • Desensitizing toothpaste – An at-home remedy, this type of toothpaste blocks the transmission of sensations from the tooth surface to the nerve, but usually requires several applications before the sensitivity is reduced. Choose a desensitizing toothpaste that carries the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
  • Fluoride gel – Done in the office, your dentist may apply the gel to strengthen your tooth enamel and reduce the transmission of sensations.
  • A crown or bond – Your dentist may suggest either of these techniques to correct a flaw or decay that results in unnecessary sensitivity.
  • Surgical gum graft – If gum tissue has been lost from the root, this procedure will permanently protect the root while reducing overall pain and sensitivity.
  • Root canal – When other treatments fail or the sensitivity is severe or persistent, a root canal can totally eliminate the problem.

To learn more about proper oral hygiene and preventing sensitive-tooth pain, visit www.mouthhealthy.org or consult a dentist in your area.

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About the North Carolina Dental Society

The North Carolina Dental Society was founded in 1856 and is one of the oldest dental societies in the country. The NCDS represents 3,700 member dentists in North Carolina. Headquartered in Cary, our mission is to help all members succeed. For more information about the NCDS, visit ncdental.org. The North Carolina Dental Society is a part of the American Dental Association, the nation's largest dental association, representing 161,000 dentist members.

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