Experiencing Teeth Sensitivity?

Ruth Jones, RDH

Experiencing Teeth Sensitivity?

Teeth sensitivity also known as dentin hypersensitivity is not uncommon in the American Adult population. Fortunately, there are many ways to treat tooth sensitivity to relieve the discomfort. There are also ways to help prevent sensitivity occurring.

Causes and Prevention of Sensitivity

The outside layer of teeth, called enamel is the protection layer. When this layer becomes thin or experiences wear, sensitivity can occur. Enamel can become thin due to acidic foods or drinks. Avoiding these types of foods and drinks is an option but can sometimes feel limiting. If you plan to keep eating and drinking these foods, rinsing with water or a mouth wash directly after will help and be sure to brush your teeth twice a day.

Clenching and grinding can cause enamel loss. This often occurs at night and you may be unaware you are doing it. If this is the cause of sensitivity, a night guard (sometimes called an occlusal guard) can be worn to prevent further wear and damage of the teeth.

Gum recession exposes the root of the teeth because enamel only covers the “crown” of the tooth or the top portion of the tooth. Without the protective layer of enamel, the root is a common area of sensitivity. Brushing too hard or using a toothbrush with “medium” or “hard” bristles can cause recession; always use a toothbrush with soft or extra-soft bristles. Receding gums can also be caused by clenching and grinding which was mentioned above. Gum recession can be caused by periodontal disease in which case, speaking with a dental profession will be best to discuss treatment options.

Whitening or bleaching is a cosmetic dental procedure that can cause sensitivity due to dehydration of the teeth. By being proactive, you can prevent sensitivity after whitening by using a sensitive tooth paste or other options discussed below.

Treatment Options

Over the counter toothpastes such as Sensodyne, or Colgate Sensitive can be used on a daily basis in place of other toothpastes to relieve discomfort from sensitivity. Look for the active ingredient potassium nitrate.

Fluoride is well known for it’s anti-cavity benefits, but it also has a desensitizing component as well. A fluoride varnish can be applied at dental visits to help relieve sensitivity. There are also prescription strength toothpastes that contain fluoride that can be used on a daily basis that will continue to provide protection and desensitizing for teeth.

MI Paste is a relatively new product that has several beneficial effects. One of them being a sensitivity relief. MI Paste is meant to be applied after brushing and left on for at least 30 minutes. It can be used in dental trays and left in over night as well.

It should be noted that if tooth sensitivity is localized to one area or tooth this may be an indication of tooth decay, a cavity, or infection. By talking with a dentist, the best treatment option can be discussed.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

Sources:

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/tooth-sensitivity

http://www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-33/issue-10/features/the-sensitivity-complaint.html

https://us.sensodyne.com/about-sensitivity/

http://www.mi-paste.com/about.php

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How Do I Care For My Dental Implant?

Morgan Johnson, RDH

How Do I Care For My Dental Implant?

Caring for implants is similar to the way natural teeth are cared for, but they do require a little more attention. Further down we will discuss a few things to keep in mind when choosing home care products, and review certain techniques to include in your everyday home care routine. Following these guidelines can help to ensure the success and longevity of your implant!

Brushing?

There are many tools that can be used to help with removing plaque from an implant. As for toothbrushes, a soft bristled electric or manual brush is okay to use, as long as it is used properly. The toothbrush should be angled at a 45 degree angle toward the gumline, in order to reach the plaque under the gums. Brushing for a full two minutes, twice a day, and reaching all surfaces of the tooth is vital. As for toothpaste, it is important to choose one that is non-abrasive, so it does not scratch the surface of the implant. Stay away from toothpastes that contain the following products: stannous fluoride, sodium fluoride (APF >3.0), baking soda, stain removers, and smoker’s toothpaste.

Flossing?

When it comes to flossing an implant, choose one that is unwaxed, or implant specific. ‘X-floss’ is a fluffy implant specific floss that works great because it is able to clean more surface area, compared to the typical thinner floss. When flossing, insert the floss in contacts on both sides of the implant. Wrap in a circle and crisscross in front, switch hands, and move in a shoe-shine motion. The implant has horizontal threads underneath the gums, so it is important to floss horizontally to remove plaque and biofilm, at least once a day!

Other Devices?

The Waterpik Water Flosser is another great tool to help keep an implant clean. After flossing with traditional string floss, the waterpik can and should be used to flush the debris out from under the pockets of the implant.  Antimicrobial rinses can also be added to the water reservoir of the Waterpik to prevent inflammation and help remove biofilm.

Other devices that help clean in between the teeth include proxabrushes, soft piks, end tuft brushes, or any other interdental brush. Just be sure they are nylon coated so as to not scratch the implant.

We hope this was helpful for all of you that have an implant of your own! As always, we are happy to answer any questions you may have about the above information.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

Sources:

https://www.speareducation.com/patient-education/view/course/700/lesson/1583

http://www.rdhmag.com/articles/print/volume-33/issue-9/features/focus-on-implant-home-care.html

https://www.piksters.com/page/xfloss