How can I decrease tooth sensitivity?

Jonathan B. Levine, DMD
If you're beginning to experience sensitivity, you can try an over-the-counter desensitizing toothpaste, like Sensodyne or GoSmile's AM and PM toothpastes. They both use high levels of fluoride mixed with high levels of potassium nitrate (5 percent). These use high levels of fluoride mixed with high levels of potassium nitrate (5 percent). However, if the problem persists after about three or four weeks, consult your dentist.
If you have sensitive teeth, your dentist may suggest that you first try using a desensitizing toothpaste, which contains compounds that help block the transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve. Desensitizing toothpastes usually require several applications before the sensitivity is reduced. Look for dental care products  that display the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance so you know the products have met ADA criteria for safety and effectiveness.

If desensitizing toothpaste does not ease your discomfort, your dentist may apply a fluoride gel to the sensitive areas of your teeth to strengthen your teeth’s enamel and reduce the transmission of sensations. If receding gums cause the sensitivity, your dentist may use agents that bond to the tooth root to "seal" the sensitive teeth. In cases where hypersensitivity is severe and persistent and cannot be treated by other means, your dentist may recommend a root canal to eliminate the problem.
Tooth sensitivity is often caused when gums recede slightly, exposing tubules. Tubules are microscopic openings in your tooth's roots that lead to the nerve of the tooth, and allow heat, cold, and pressure to travel there. If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, see your dentist, who may clean your teeth and apply a protective fluoride varnish that can block the tubules. Your dentist may also recommend laser treatment to alter tubules. If your teeth are too sensitive to be cleaned and procedures are painful, your dentist may use a local anesthetic prior to an exam and cleaning. You can also speak to your dentist about using a fluoride rinse and a toothpaste made specifically for sensitive teeth.
First, see your dentist to rule out a cavity or abcess. Your dentist may recommend a toothpaste for sensitive teeth or prescibe a flouride rinse or gel to be applied to the teeth. Your dentist may also paint a desensitizing agent directly onto the sensitive teeth. Your dentist can best advise you as to the best treatment for your sensitive teeth.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.