THERE’S NOTHING BETTER than a swim in the pool to cool down during the hot summer months. Before we dive in, we should be aware of how our time in the pool can impact our oral health. That’s right: the chlorine in swimming pools doesn’t just cause dry skin and eye irritation, it can also have an effect on our teeth.
Chlorine Versus Our Teeth
The reason swimming pools contain chlorine is that it helps to decontaminate the water from microbes and other unpleasant things that could pose health and sanitation risks to swimmers. However, when chlorine is added to water, it forms a weak acid, and unless the pool’s pH isn’t carefully regulated, that acid can lead to a condition called swimmer’s calculus.
Swimmer’s calculus causes yellow and brown stains to develop on teeth enamel after too much exposure to chlorine. It also makes our teeth feel more sensitive after swimming, because enamel erosion leaves the dentin underneath more vulnerable. When we have good oral health, our saliva works to keep our mouths as close to a neutral pH as possible, thus protecting our enamel from erosion, but acid exposure can harm enamel before the saliva can do its job.
This isn’t usually a problem for casual swimmers, but anyone who is a serious swimmer or participates in water sports should be aware of the possibility of developing swimmer’s calculus. The best ways to prevent chlorine damage to your teeth are to maintain a good oral health routine with daily brushing and flossing, drink plenty of fresh water to flush out the chlorine residue, and keep your mouth closed while swimming!
Check out this video to learn about other ways our teeth are exposed to acids:
Dental Concerns Of Scuba Diving
If swimming pools aren’t your thing but you love snorkeling and diving, your teeth will be safe from the effects of chlorine, but they may still face other problems. Barodontalgia, commonly called tooth squeeze, occurs when tiny air bubbles trapped in cracks, crevices, and holes in our teeth change size due to pressure. This pressure change can result in significant tooth pain and can even fracture teeth, and a good preventative measure is a dental appointment before diving season begins!
Most divers are familiar with how uncomfortable those “one size fits none” mouthpieces can be, but do you know they can be bad for your teeth? Divers with poorly-fitting mouthpieces have to clench to keep them in place, and this can lead to Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ), which causes jaw pain and headaches and makes it uncomfortable to chew. If you’re a frequent diver, you might want to invest in a custom-fitted mouthpiece.
Let’s Get Those Teeth Ready For The Water!
We want all of our patients to have a wonderful summer enjoying their favorite water sports and activities without fear for the effects on their teeth. Schedule a dental appointment so that we can make sure your teeth are healthy and answer any of your questions about underwater tooth problems and how to avoid them!
Take time to cool off this summer! You deserve it!
Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
DO YOU GET a painful jolt through your teeth every time you try to enjoy a bite of ice cream or a sip of fresh coffee? If you do, then you’re familiar with the woes of tooth sensitivity, and you’re not alone. More than half of adults between the ages of 20 and 50 experience some degree of sensitivity in their teeth, and children can have sensitive teeth too.
So why does this happen? Well, to understand tooth sensitivity, it helps to know about the structure of a tooth and how the different layers function.
The Anatomy Of A Tooth
The crown of each tooth is covered in a thin layer of hard enamel. Beneath the enamel is dentin, a bony substance with thousands of microscopic tubules running through it. These tubules are how the nerves in the pulp at the core of each tooth can detect what’s going on at the surface.
Causes Of Sensitivity
Most often, tooth sensitivity occurs when the enamel wears away, which could be the result of teeth grinding, erosion from acid, or even improper brushing. Without enamel, the tubules in the dentin become exposed. Once that happens, eating or drinking anything hot or cold — sometimes even sweet or sour — will give the tooth a nasty shock.
Another major cause of sensitivity is root exposure. Teeth roots don’t have that layer of enamel; their main defense is the gums. Gum recession, which can also be caused by teeth grinding or improper brushing, leaves the roots vulnerable. Other causes of sensitivity include cavities and having a chipped or fractured tooth.
How You Can Protect Your Teeth
If you do have sensitive teeth, there are several ways to fight back. First, start using a soft-bristled brush if you aren’t already, because hard bristles may further damage the enamel and gum tissue. You can also switch to a toothpaste specifically formulated for sensitive teeth. Finally, avoid sugary or acidic foods and drinks, particularly soft drinks.
What Our Practice Can Do
Make sure to come to us if you begin experiencing tooth sensitivity, even if your next regular appointment is months away. We can strengthen your teeth with a fluoride varnish, perform dental restoration work on areas with enamel loss, recommend a gum graft to cover exposed roots, or prescribe a desensitizing toothpaste. We’ll also make sure there aren’t any other problems with your teeth!
We’re here to make sure your smile stays healthy and strong!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
Have you noticed that your teeth are tighter together or that you have more spacing between your teeth than before? If so, it is possible that your teeth are shifting or moving, and that indicates it is time to see your dentist for an evaluation. There are many reasons why teeth can shift or move over time and your dentist can help!
Traumas or accidents can cause teeth to move dramatically within the jaw. These situations usually require emergency medical treatment and follow up care with a dentist, orthodontist, or an oral surgeon to correct the problem.
If your teeth are becoming misaligned or out of place, and an injury is not the cause, a dentist will be able to assist you in identifying the problem. In some cases, “mesial drift”, or the gradual shifting of teeth towards the center of your face, is the cause. This is common and poses no major dental or health concerns for patients or their dentist. However, as teeth crowd, or as gaps form, it can be more difficult to keep your teeth clean. In addition, the shift in your bite may change the aesthetic appearance of your smile. Orthodontic treatment such as braces, retainers, Invisalign, and Six Month Smiles are all possible options that can correct mesial drift and shifting teeth. Other times, a change in a patient’s bite can indicate an underlying issue. It is not uncommon for teeth to move or the occlusion (bite) to change in patients who are chronic grinders or who have gum disease.
Bruxism, or grinding and clenching, can subtly and painlessly displace teeth over time. The constant force of your jaws moving or pressing together can rock or shift teeth. Although it is difficult to completely stop grinding, special bruxism appliances such as night*guards can reduce the strain on your jaw and protect your teeth.
Gum disease or periodontal disease is also a suspected culprit when teeth shift and move. When patients have gum disease, they begin to lose jawbone and gum attachment. The loss of bone and this supporting attachment allows teeth to move or become loose. When patients notice larger gaps in between their teeth, or spaces that didn’t used to be present, gum disease is a likely cause. Periodontal disease cannot be cured, and bone loss is often permanent. However, seeing a dental hygienist and a periodontist for treatment and therapies can help preserve the bone that remains and stabilize the teeth.
It is important in any case that patients who notice shifting, moving, new gaps, wider spaces, or tighter teeth see their dentist. Your dental professional will perform a complete evaluation, review your medical and dental history, and take images to determine the cause of your changes. Once the origin of the problem is identified and treated, most patients will still have options available to them that can manage their bite concerns and aesthetic appearance. Orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry both offer services that can restore your smile to its original and desired look.
Should I still be flossing my teeth?
New guidelines released by the federal government earlier this month have removed flossing as a recommendation for Americans. The U.S. report focuses on dietary benefits for citizens and has historically included regular flossing as part of a healthy lifestyle. The latest report removed flossing due to “weak, very unreliable” evidence that flossing improved dental or overall health.
Why did the recommendation change? There is some debate as to whether studies on the benefits of flossing are skewed or inaccurate. Dental governing bodies, such as the American Dental Association, state that the past studies on flossing show a decrease in inflammation and the removal of plaque and debris in between teeth. Other organizations cite that the studies are too small or short in duration to be of value. So what is a patient to do?
At Grand Dental Group, we strongly recommend that you ask your dentist or hygienist for his or her professional opinion. No one knows your mouth better than your own oral health care provider. Do not change your current oral home care routine based only on this recent guideline change. Talk to your dentist first.
Does flossing really work? Our providers know flossing is only as good as how often and how well it is performed. Flossing only on rare occasion likely isn’t making a difference in someone’s oral or overall health. The same holds true when flossing is performed incorrectly – which is very common! To say that flossing is ineffective in instances where it is performed sporadically or poorly is not a fair judgement. In addition, flossing well and flossing daily is not enough to overcome other health obstacles. Patients who have challenges such as uncontrolled diabetes, heart disease, a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates, or who smoke are unlikely to see a health benefit from flossing only. In the opinions of the Grand Dental dentists, floss is a valuable tool, but flossing alone cannot combat overwhelming hurdles. It is no different than expecting a rinse to alone treat gum disease. Or expecting one single workout to combat a month of high calorie intake. But does that mean flossing isn’t helpful? Not at all.
The value of flossing is found when it is part of an entire oral health care regimen. In our clinical and professional experience, flossing is beneficial, regardless of the latest government recommendations. But, it must be performed effectively and frequently to make a difference. Occasional flossing certainly does the trick when trying to remove a popcorn hull, but for patients who want to see real oral health results, we have recommendations:
· Brush effectively at least two times a day
· Floss effectively once a day
· Cease the use of tobacco products & smokeless tobacco
· Reduce alcohol consumption
· See your dentist or hygienist regularly for preventative care
· Manage diabetes and heart disease
· Eat a diet high in vitamins and minerals and low in sugar
Flossing is not a cure for gum disease and doesn’t ensure a cavity-free mouth. But, when performed properly and routinely, it does remove bacteria and food debris from teeth. Since it is also an inexpensive and easy task, we still recommend it as part of your daily oral hygiene routine.
If you have questions about flossing please reach out to any of our Grand Dental locations, we proudly serve Aurora, Franklin Park, Channahon, Sycamore, Lake Zurich, & Wilmington, IL.
Do you want whiter teeth?
At Grand Dental Group, we know that our patients want that bright, white smile! Our team of dental professionals is happy to provide you with a list of whitening tips for keeping your pearly whites even whiter!
- Avoid foods and drinks that stain teeth. Many of our favorite foods and beverages are notorious for staining teeth and duller our smiles. Coffee, tea, caramel-colored pops and sodas, red wine and grape juice are all common drinks that cause staining. Blueberries and marinara and spaghetti sauces can also cause stains. Some of these foods and drinks have excellent health benefits, but can cause some surface stains as well.
- Eat crunchy foods that help remove plaque and stains. Fibrous foods such as celery, carrots, apples, etc. are great for naturally removing sticky plaque bacteria from your teeth. Plaque often harbors stains from the foods and drink we consume and eating crunchy foods can help reduce the amount of staining and plaque on our teeth and gums.
- Stop smoking! Smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and even chewing tobacco are all well-documented as causing tooth stain and discoloration. Smoking leaves not only a dark brown or black stain along teeth, it can cause teeth to appear more yellow as well. Stains are the least of the smoker’s concerns, however. Major health issues such as heart disease, stroke, and gum disease are all negative side effects from smoking. Smoking cessation is a great way to get whiter teeth.
- Use your toothbrush! Many light surface stains can be removed or at least reduced through proper brushing. Patients should brush twice a day, for at least 2 minutes, and after meals if possible. Flossing also is important. Removing food and drink causing stains before they become “set” into the tooth structure or embedded into tartar can greatly improve your smile’s appearance.
- Whitening products can work if you still want a brighter appearance. Although they aren’t necessarily “natural”, safe whitening products are available over the counter and at your dental office to help you bleach your teeth. Typically, over the counter products are less effective and can cause gum irritation, tooth sensitivity, and uneven whitening if used incorrectly. Products sold in your dental office are better regulated, come with custom made trays, and are prescription strength. These dentist-monitored kits whiten your teeth more effectively.
- See your dentist! Visiting your dentist does not have to be a daily occurrence, but regular dental cleanings and checkups can remove stains and diagnose the underlying dental causes of tooth stains and discolorations. Some stains on your teeth may be caused by developmental conditions, tartar, or dental decay. In some cases, whitening your teeth may not be appropriate or effective. At Grand Dental, your dentist or hygienist should be able to determine if you are a candidate for bleaching your teeth and if you can expect a good result.
Before you change your diet, oral hygiene habits, or use whitening products or any kind, make sure that your dentist or medical doctor is aware. Although whiter teeth look youthful and healthy, whitening your teeth is best done when your mouth is free from decay or other dental infections.
How can you cure bad breath? Bad breath is an embarrassing, but common problem. If you suffer from bad breath, our dental specialists at Grand Dental Group are happy to provide you with tips to help! Halitosis, or foul breath, can be caused by several factors. Eliminating or reducing the cause of this odor can greatly improve your self-esteem and confidence, not to mention your social life! Consider these tips to cure your bad breath for good:
- Watch what you eat and drink! Some of our favorite foods and drinks are guilty of causing terrible breath issues. Garlic, curry, and coffee are big culprits. Moreover, foods that cause belching, gas, and acid reflux can also contribute. Carbonated drinks such as pop, soda, beer, and fried and spicy foods leave us with less than stellar breath. Reducing consumption of these foods will help residual halitosis.
- Freshen up! It almost goes without saying that brushing your teeth regularly, flossing daily, and using mouth wash when needed will help as well. Practicing excellent oral hygiene will remove odor-causing bacteria and food debris that gets caught in your teeth. Also, don’t forget to brush your tongue to remove hidden build up. For times when brushing and flossing are not possible, carry flosser picks, sugar free gum, and sugar free mints for those quick touch ups on the go.
- Visit your dentist! Many malodors can be traced back to dental problems. Broken fillings, cracked teeth, and dental decay or cavities can all harbor bacteria or food. Restoring your teeth with quality dental work can improve your breath. If you notice chronic bad breath, your dentist can perform a thorough examination to determine if any obvious dental conditions are contributing to your halitosis. In addition to tooth problems, gum disease or periodontal disease is also notorious for causing bad breath. Periodontal disease is a painless condition caused by bacterial growth and often leads to embarrassing oral odor. Gum disease is treated by dental hygienists and periodontists (gum specialists). Controlling and treating gum disease greatly diminishes bad breath.
- Visit your ENT! If a dentist determines that your halitosis is not caused by gum or tooth problems, then a visit to an otolaryngologist or ear, nose, and throat doctor would be appropriate. Some medical disorders cause bad breath. GERD, or chronic acid reflux, tonsiliths or tonsil stones, post-nasal drip, among other medical conditions are likely odor-causing candidates. GERD is commonly underdiagnosed and most patients don’t realize that their halitosis is a sign of a systemic medical problem. Your doctor may perform a visual exam or an endoscopy to evaluate the health of your oral cavity and esophagus. Medications and lifestyle changes can often alleviate mouth odor.
Regardless of what is causing your bad breath, there most certainly are options for treating or eliminating the source. Patients do not need to live with bad breath or mask it. It isn’t just a nuisance or a cosmetic issue. Underlying dental and medical problems can be causing your halitosis. Changing your diet, keeping your mouth clean, and visiting your dentist and medical doctor can help you fight bad breath for good!
Do you think you might need a root canal? Although root canals have long evoked fear in the minds of most adults, jokes and horror stories about them are vastly overstated. According to the American Association of Endodontics, over 15 million root canal procedures are done in America, annually. Root canal therapy, often referred to as a “root canal” is a common dental treatment used to remove infection in a diseased tooth. This increases the longevity of the tooth and reduces the likelihood that it may be removed or lost in the future. So how do you know if you need a root canal? Only a dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist) can make the official diagnosis and treatment recommendation. However, there are a few signs that can alert you to a possible problem or indicate the need for root canal therapy:
- Sensitivity or pain, especially pain that lingers or occurs when drinking or eating something warm or hot.
- Deep decay or a large cavity that is close to the nerve of the tooth
- A toothache. Throbbing and aching that gets worse over time can be a sign.
- A large crack or chip in your tooth or filling
- Trauma to a tooth, often caused by an accident or injury to the face or mouth
- Swelling of the gums, cheeks, lips or face
- Draining pus or a pimple or blister that appears along the side of your gums
- Evidence of pathology seen only on an x-ray or digital imaging
There are several reasons why a patient may need a root canal. Trauma and injury, decay, and infection are just a few. In some cases, patients will have no symptoms and may not realize that their tooth is infected. For this reason, it is imperative that patients see their dentist regularly for routine check-ups and call their dentist immediately if they experience pain, sensitivity, or an injury. Facial or head injuries that cause dizziness or vomiting are emergencies and patients should seek assistance as a hospital emergency room. The possible need for a root canal on an injured tooth is superseded by the need to treat a possible concussion.
If your dentist or endodontist recommends a root canal, it is important to start treatment as soon as possible. Tooth infections, if left untreated, can lead to abscesses and systemic sepsis infections throughout the body. In rare cases, untreated diseased tooth infections caused untreated hospitalizations and even death.
Most root canal therapy procedures are painless and comfortable. Only in the rarest of situations, and generally in the presence of extreme infection or delayed treatment, are root canals a challenging experience for patients. Moreover, tooth sensitivity doesn’t usually mean a root canal is needed. And decay or cracks or chips can be restored with fillings or crowns only. So there is no need to fear a root canal. In fact, root canal therapy allows us to keep more of our teeth and longer! But, should your dentist or endodontist recommend a root canal, it is always best to treat them as soon as possible to avoid additional complications.
At Grand Dental Group, our dentists and hygienists know that the drinks that taste the best can sometimes be the worst for your teeth. Let our dental professionals share with you some of the worst drinks you can have:
- Energy drinks pose many health concerns, the least of which is the caffeine content and the multitude of unpronounceable ingredients. Dentists know that the “energy” part of energy drinks is often the high sugar content. In addition, these products are also very acidic. Sugars contribute to the formation of acids in the mouth. Acids cause the breakdown of enamel and form cavities. So drinks with high levels of both acid and sugar are a double-whammy against teeth.
Pop and Soda
- Similar to energy drinks, soft drinks contain massive amounts of sugar and are also highly acidic. Many soft drinks have the almost the pH balance as actual battery acid! Popular sodas such as Pepsi, Coke, Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, Sprite, Barq’s, etc. contain 9-12 tsp of sugar in every can! Medium and large sized drinks at fast food or sit down restaurants are at least 16-20oz. per refill. The huge consumption of these sodas definitely increases your chance of dental decay.
- Acidic fruit drinks:
- Orange juice, lemonade, and tomato juice are popular and have some overall health benefits. However, the sugar content and acids in these beverages make them risky for your oral health. The limes added to margaritas, or the lemons added to water are also culprits. Dentists know that even “healthy” drinks that contain vitamins and minerals can still wreak havoc in your mouth.
Coffee and tea
- Coffee is acidic and often paired with sugar to make it more palatable. Both the acids and sugars can contribute to cavities in your teeth. The expensive coffee drinks with added syrups and dairy products definitely contain massive amounts of sugar. Tea has been proven to have some anti-cavity benefits in recent years. However, the studies showing this only include plain tea without sugar, honey, or any other sweet additions. Adding sugars in any form to your tea will certainly negate any of the cavity-fighting benefits. For most people, the biggest problem with coffee and tea is the surface staining that it leaves on your teeth. The good news is, this can be removed with good home care and regular dental hygiene check -ups and cleanings.
- One of the most obvious problems with these beverages is that alcohol is very dehydrating. The mouth becomes dry after consuming alcohol, in any form, and the reduction of saliva is a concern. Saliva is a natural buffer against acids and decay. So, reduced salivary flow can increase the likelihood for cavities. In addition, alcohol contains sugars and many forms of alcohol are paired with surgery drinks. Beer, wine, and hard alcohols all have some sugar content. But when hard alcohols are paired with other ingredients or soda, the effects are compounded. Low carb or beverages with lower alcohol content are the tooth-friendlier choices. Mixes, add-ins, and pop, along with alcohol should be minimized. Red wine has some heart benefits, but can cause surface stains on your teeth.
As with anything, moderation is key. All of these drinks above are usually fine in moderation and on occasion. Anything consumed too frequently or in large quantities can pose a cavity risk for your teeth. If you have concerns about your smile, talk to you dentist today for an evaluation and dietary consultation.
The toothpaste aisle in grocery and drug stores is very overwhelming. The shelves are lined with dozens of different brands, each claiming to be the best for your teeth and gums. Finding the best toothpaste for you and your family can be tricky. Toothpastes, technically called dentifrices by dental professionals, come in gels or pastes and a multitude of flavors and packaging meant to market to the consumer. Whether the cap is a screw off or snap on type or whether you use a stand up or lay down tube is of no matter to your dentist. Generally speaking, dentists and hygienists want you to use a toothpaste that you like and will use faithfully. The art of actually brushing your teeth well enough to remove plaque and food debris is more important than which paste you use.
However, we do have some tips for patients looking to find the right toothpaste for them:
- Kids and toddlers should use toddler pastes or fluoride free toothpastes until they are old enough to spit the paste out after brushing. Fluoride in toothpaste is very helpful in reducing dental cavities, but is not meant for actual consumption. So, to avoid accidental swallowing of fluoride pastes, Oral-B and other companies offer fluoride-free pastes for families.
- Sensitive teeth. If you suffer from chronic tooth sensitivity, there are many toothpaste options on the market for you to get relief. See your dentist to make sure you have no underlying dental problems causing the sensitivity first. But pastes such as Sensodyne, or sensitive pastes by Crest and Colgate, can reduce discomfort.
- Tartar control pastes. If you are prone to tartar build up, your dentist or hygienist may recommend a tartar control toothpaste. These pastes contain ingredients that attempt to inhibit the formation of tartar. Tartar, or calculus, forms when minerals in your saliva wash over plaque left on your teeth. This calcifies the plaque into tartar. Oral hygiene habits, saliva pH, anatomical challenges and other issues all factor into how much tartar patients accumulate. For patients who build up tartar excessively or quickly, you may find some help with a tartar control paste
- Holistic or natural pastes are also an option for patient who are concerned about additives, dyes, and unnecessary ingredients in their paste. Patients with allergies or dietary concerns may also consider a more natural paste. Tom’s of Maine and xylitol based pastes and gels, such as Spry are good options. Many “natural” pastes do not contain fluoride and therefore will not be as likely to protect teeth against decay. However, xylitol is a plant-based product that has shown to have anti-cavity benefits for teeth. Again, proper brushing and flossing will be key to removing the bacterial plaque and acids that cause tooth decay.
- ADA recommended pastes. For patients who want assurance that the paste they are using actually does what its packaging says it does, seek out pastes with the American Dental Association seal of acceptance. This ADA seal ensures that the product was scientifically tested to prove its claims. There are many quality products on the market that did not go through the rigorous ADA testing, but if you want to be certain, go with pastes that have the ADA seal on their packaging.
Most toothpaste is marketed to appeal to the consumer in the form of size, design, shape, taste, etc. These features do not necessarily make the products good or bad in the eyes of your dentist or hygienist. Your dental team knows that efficient brushing and flossing is more important to overall oral hygiene that what paste you use. But, when it comes to what toothpaste is best for you, the answer is simple: Whatever toothpaste you like the best!
5 Tips to Treat your Sensitive Teeth
Sensitive teeth are no laughing matter. All of us have experienced a little sensitivity at some time, but many adults suffer from chronic tooth sensitivity and pain. In some cases, the discomfort is so significant that it can disrupt one’s ability to eat or drink and negatively affect the quality of a patient’s life. The good news is, patients don’t have to live with sensitive teeth. For the vast majority of patients, there are treatments to help with their comfort level. The dental specialists at Grand Dental Group have some tips for those that deal with this uncomfortable condition.
It is important first to ensure that your sensitivity doesn’t have an obvious pathologic or dental cause. A thorough exam by your dentist will determine this. Dental decay, tooth or gum infections, such as an abscess, can be possible causes of sensitive teeth. Periodontal disease in the form of gingivitis, bone loss, or gum recession can also contribute to tooth discomfort. More challenging diagnoses such as bruxism (or tooth grinding), TMJ disorders, or sinus infections are additional possibilities.
In these situations, treating the cause of the sensitivity is key to correcting the pain. Patients with new or worsening sensitivity, in particular, should seek the advice of their dentist.
For patients who have a more chronic, underlying sensitivity issue, our office offers some tips:
- Use a sensitive or extra soft bristled toothbrush, when possible. Most adults brush too hard and too quickly. Many times, in a rush, we actually use more force when we brush. This aggressive brushing can lead to gum recession, tooth wear, and hypersensitive teeth. Using a gentle, circular stroke while brushing with extra soft bristles can significantly reduce the force of brushing.
- Try a high-end power toothbrush such as Sonicare. Many power brushes made with quality materials and the latest technology clean teeth well and also have built-in safety mechanisms. With some power brushes, if you are using too much force to brush, the brush head motion actually slows down and stops to reduce wear and damage. Inexpensive models are unlikely to offer these features, so it is more effective when you use the higher quality power brushes.
- Sensitive toothpaste is another option to help with mild cases. Sensodyne is a toothpaste specifically targeted towards treating sensitivity. Crest and Colgate, among other popular brands, also produce a line of sensitive pastes. These pastes contain ingredients that can reduce pain and improve patients’ comfort.
- In-office and take home fluoride products also assist with sensitivity. Patients can receive in-office fluoride treatments in the form of gels, foams, or varnishes. Take home professional strength fluoride generally comes in pastes or rinses. In both cases, the fluoride is topically applied, not ingested. The direct application of the fluoride to the teeth can decrease tooth discomfort.
- MI Paste or pastes with calcium phosphates have completely transformed how dentists and hygienists treat patients with sensitivity. These products actually block off the exposed dentinal tubules inside the tooth that allow sensations to travel directly to the nerve. Once these tubules are covered, the tooth is less sensitive to temperature change, acids, and biting or chewing.
Before beginning home care treatments, Grand Dental Group dentists strongly recommend that patients seek the counsel of their family dentist first. It is important to eliminate disease or dental problems as a cause. However, when patients have sensitivity for unknown reasons or without the presence of disease, the above tips can be very effective.