Why do I have sensitive teeth? What can be done?

I see this often. Patients complain of tooth sensitivity that presents as a quick, sharp pain after eating or drinking cold liquids, or breathing cold air. The most common cause of tooth sensitivity is due to receding gums. The gums act as a protective blanket, covering the roots of teeth. As gums recede, the underlying tooth roots are exposed. Gums commonly recede for one of two reasons:

        • Over-aggressive teeth brushing and/or use of a hard bristled tooth brush causing excessive pressure on the gums
        • Inadequate tooth brushing and flossing leading to build-up of bacteria and tartar around the teeth and gums leading to gum irritation

When the gum tissue is lost, it will not grow back. What can you do for these sensitive teeth? For mild cases, I recommend trying sensitivity toothpastes containing potassium nitrate, such as Sensodyne. If you cannot get relief by brushing gently and using sensitivity toothpaste, your dentist may recommend options for relief. A dentist can apply tooth-coloured "bonding" material to cover the exposed surfaces of the tooth root. Alternatively, depending on the type of recession, some people may be a candidate for gum regeneration by a gum grafting procedure.

My child has two rows of teeth! Many parents come to my dental office with their child, alarmed to find adult teeth growing behind baby teeth, resulting in two rows of lower teeth. Sometimes called "shark teeth", this commonly occurs around 6 years of age when the lower front adult teeth start coming out.
In most cases, nothing needs to be done. Nature should take it's course: the baby tooth should eventually fall out, and the adult tooth will move forward into the correct position. I would encourage your child to actively wiggle their baby tooth to loosen it and enable it to fall out. If the baby tooth does not come out after 3 months, you should consult with your dentist.

Can I still straighten my teeth as an adult?
Absolutely. A great option for many adults, who want to straighten their teeth without embarrassing metal braces, is Invisalign. Commonly referred to as "invisible braces", the Invisalign aligners are custom-made, removable appliances that apply pressure to teeth, causing desired movement. Invisalign aligners offer a comfortable, convenient and discreet option for teeth straightening. Many of my patients report that nobody even noticed they we're wearing their Invisalign aligners.

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Why do my gums bleed when I brush my teeth?If your gums bleed while brushing, it is a sign that you have gingivitis. Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that if left untreated can eventually lead to tooth loss.

Signs that you have gingivitis:

        • Swollen, soft, red gums. Healthy gums should be pink in colour not reddish.


        • Gums that bleed easily during brushing of your teeth.

The primary cause of gingivitis is plaque, an invisible, sticky film, composed primarily of bacteria and food debris. When you brush your teeth properly, plaque is removed but will re-form quickly, usually in about a day. Plaque that stays in your teeth longer than 2 days will become tartar, a hard, white substance that cannot be removed with brushing.
Your dentist can treat gingivitis in a couple ways, but the first step is to thoroughly clean your teeth, removing all traces of plaque and tartar, a procedure known as scaling. Gingivitis usually clears up after a professional cleaning as long as you continue to follow regular brushing and flossing at home.
Prevention of gingivitis is quite simple. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily. It is also important to visit your dentist regularly to get your teeth cleaned.

My teeth are yellow. Can I make them whiter?Almost everyone wanting to brighten their smile can benefit from teeth whitening. As we age, our teeth gradually become darker due to staining from a variety of sources, the worst being coffee, tea, red wine and smoking.
The most effective and safest method of teeth whitening is the dentist-supervised procedure. First, the dentist will determine whether you are a candidate for teeth whitening and what type of whitening system would provide the best results.
Although teeth whitening is very effective, there can be short term disadvantages, such as temporary tooth sensitivity or gum irritation. In addition, any dental work such as crowns, bridges, bonding, and fillings will not lighten any further with professional teeth whitening. Different stains require different solutions, therefore it is important to have a consultation with a dental professional before trying a teeth whitening product.

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Posted in Dentistry Post Date 08/09/2015







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