The pain associated with tooth sensitivity takes many forms and can last for seconds, days, or even weeks. Here, Dr. Maria Luong shares tips to help you fight back against the pain and eliminate sensitivity. There is no need to suffer endlessly; many of the ways to minimize tooth sensitivity are inexpensive or even free.
Two active ingredients found in certain toothpastes can help decrease tooth sensitivity. Potassium nitrate and stannous fluoride work in tandem with your saliva to protect the exposed inner part of your teeth. A popular brand with these active ingredients are Sensodyne. If you whiten your teeth consistently and struggle with sensitivity, this toothpaste can help minimize your pain.
Stop Using Whitening Products
If you have tried desensitizing toothpastes and have not seen much improvement in your pain, it may be time to stop using whitening products. Even if you only take a break in your tooth whitening process, you’ll be giving your teeth time to recover. Any product that whitens teeth has the potential to cause sensitivity and pain, which usually surfaces a day or two after the tooth whitening process and then fades away over time. However, if the pain becomes severe enough to interfere with your daily life, it may be time to reconsider your plans for a brighter smile. There are gentler whitening products, like toothpastes and rinses, that contain a lower level of active ingredients. If you are determined to brighten your smile without pain and sensitivity, try these options.
Changes in Diet
Acidic foods and drinks can wear away at the surface of your teeth, reaching the nerves inside your teeth to cause sensitivity. These include sodas, tomatoes, lemons, and citrus fruits. If you regularly drink sodas, you can minimize your tooth sensitivity by cutting them out of your diet. There are other proven health benefits to refraining from soda as well, which makes this modification even healthier for you.
Over-the-Counter Pain Medications
As with many other minor aches and pains, over-the-counter pain relievers can help with tooth pain and sensitivity. Any over-the-counter pain reliever will provide some relief, although, ibuprofen is typically regarded as one of the better options. It is safe to take up to 800 milligrams of ibuprofen every four to six hours. If you know when your teeth will be most sensitive when you eat or drink hot or cold substances, it is safe to take a pain reliever in advance to mitigate the pain. However, be careful not to depend too heavily on over-the-counter pain relievers, as excessive use can lead to liver damage.
Contact Your Dentist
Dr. Maria Luong says that if your tooth pain and sensitivity persist for more than a few weeks, it is important to contact your dentist. Your dentist has several different options to help treat your tooth sensitivity, from quick, easy fixes like sealants to more measures like addressing receding gums. When pain persists, it is worthwhile to seek out treatment options and educate yourself on ways to end sensitivity. A healthy smile is worth taking care of instead of being in constant pain.
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