Imagine this: you step outside on a snowy winter day or drink down a cup of hot coffee, and a sudden burst of tooth sensitivity makes you wince.
This type of sensitivity is incredibly common, and many of our patients come to us with complaints about it—but that doesn’t mean it’s something you should ignore. In fact, if you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, exposed dentin is often the cause.
Reaching out to a dentist in North Vancouver is a great way to reduce your dental pain and protect your teeth. Here’s what you should know about prevention and treatment for this common issue.
What Is Tooth Dentin?
Before we jump into your prevention and treatment options, let’s cover a few basic definitions.
Your enamel is the protective outer layer of your teeth, and it’s the hardest substance in your body. Unfortunately, even this durable substance can’t stand up to a prolonged attack from bacteria in your mouth.
Sitting under that hard surface layer is your dentin, which is the slightly softer inner layer that protects the nerves inside your teeth. When your enamel wears down, it can expose the underlying dentin. As you might expect, this can also expose the sensitive nerves within your teeth.
When this happens, you might experience more sensitivity to hot or cold foods, a problem we call “dentin hypersensitivity.” You might also notice tooth discoloration or smoother, rounded edges to your teeth.
How Does Dentin Become Exposed?
There are many reasons for dentin exposure, which is why protecting your enamel is crucial. Here are a few common causes to watch for.
When we brush our teeth too hard, we can wear down the enamel while cleaning their hard surfaces. To prevent this, make sure to always use a soft toothbrush, and move it in gentle circles over your teeth.
Teeth grinding can wear down the chewing surfaces of your teeth over time. Patients who grind their teeth at night may want to try home remedies like wearing a soft mouth guard. In some cases, it also helps to find ways to minimize stress, which is a common cause of teeth grinding.
When you don’t remove the plaque and tartar from your mouth, they can eat through your enamel, exposing the dentin inside. Proper oral hygiene and regular cleanings are the keys to preventing this from happening.
The acids that come into the mouth from gastroesophageal reflux disease can wear down the enamel of the teeth. Working to get your GERD under control—and taking your medicine as prescribed—can help.
Gum recession can happen due to aggressive brushing, gum disease, or a genetic predisposition. Regular gentle brushing can prevent this, and your dentist can offer assistance with treating severe cases.
Missing Fillings or Crowns
If your dental work falls out, it can expose the dentin beneath. Though you can’t always prevent this on your own, proper oral care can help reduce your risk, and your dentist can replace the lost filling or crown.
How Can a Dentist Treat Exposed Dentin?
If you’re worried about your teeth, you’re in luck: your dentist can offer a specialized dentin treatment plan to help.
For milder cases, a prescription toothpaste may help to reduce the sensitivity of your teeth. Fluoride treatments and toothpastes can also help to strengthen your enamel.
For more severe cases, your dentist can seal exposed dentin via tooth fillings, dental crowns, veneers, and other techniques.
Visit a Dentist in North Vancouver for Treatment
If you’re struggling with tooth sensitivity, or if you suspect dentin exposure for another reason, getting a specialized treatment plan can help. Your dentist can decide which options are best for your condition, allowing you to get relief fast.
When it’s time to see a dentist, North Vancouver patients can trust the team at Divine Dental. From general cleanings to fillings to fluoride treatments, we offer plenty of options to protect your oral health. To get in touch with questions or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.