How to soothe those sensitive teeth

Sensitive teeth can quickly end your enjoyment of ice cream or hot chocolate. If your dentist rules out cavities and fractures, the cause of this common problem could be worn tooth enamel, a cracked tooth or an exposed root, according to the American Dental Association.

Your dentist may suggest brushing with a desensitizing toothpaste containing compounds that prevent sensations from being transmitted to the nerves and cells inside the tooth from the surface.

If that fails, your dentist may apply a fluoride gel to strengthen the enamel and reduce the transmissions.

If receding gums are responsible, bonding agents can seal the roots of sensitive teeth.

For severe, persistent hypersensitivity that doesn’t respond to these treatments, your dentist may recommend a root canal.

To prevent sensitive teeth, keep gums from receding by brushing correctly with a soft toothbrush. Avoid over-brushing.

Source: Humana Dental Summer 2006