What can the dentist do for my sensitive teeth?
Dr. McBride and the hygienist have a variety of regimens to manage tooth hypersensitivity, including both in-office treatments and patient-applied products for home use. If you are diagnosed with dentin hypersensitivity, Dr. McBride may apply a desensitizing agent or a protective coating. We have a treatment of inorganic salts that can be painted on the exposed dentin (the sensitive part) which provides an insulation and desensitization of the nerve endings. This desensitization is ideal for persons that find the sensitivity is noticeable when they attempt to drink cold beverages or touch their teeth. It can last between three months to over a year before reapplication.
You may be prescribed a stannous fluoride gel or an over-the-counter desensitizing toothpaste containing fluoride and either potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. These ingredients help block transmission of sensation from the tooth to the nerve. It also might help to massage the special paste onto your gums with your finger after brushing. This must be reapplied daily to usually continue to keep the teeth from becoming sensitive again.
"Permanent" desensitization can be difficult to achieve. A tooth can be filled if there is a hole or crevice in the tooth at the sensitive part, but can fall out if the cause of the hole or crevice was not treated. Consult Dr. McBride whether or not this is an option for your situation.
What should I do after the dentist has applied a desensitizing agent?
Listen closely to Dr. McBride's instructions. He may advise you not to eat or drink for a short period of time to eliminate all sources of irritation, such as acidic foods or medication, highly concentrated foods or flavored toothpastes. You may also be instructed to change oral hygiene habits that are likely to cause abrasion or use a daily fluoride application (a rinse or brush-on gel.)