How To Differentiate Between Cavity Pain & Tooth Sensitivity – Part Two

Weakened Enamel

In both cases – tooth cavity and tooth sensitivity – the enamel has weakened. What causes the enamel to become weak? Poor oral hygiene leading to excessive plaque is the most common; high consumption of sugary and acidic foods and beverages with neglect of proper brushing and flossing can surely weaken enamel. Other causes are: bruxism or grinding of teeth, excessive or forceful brushing, excessive use of alcohol-based mouthwashes, among others.

Treatment for Cavities and Sensitive Teeth

The simplest way to treat sensitive teeth is to avoid the triggers. There are also many toothpaste brands you can use that are designed specifically for sensitive teeth. For severe cases that have not responded to other treatments, including installation of crowns and veneers.

In the case of tooth decay and cavities, professional treatment by a qualified dentist is best. The dentist makes a visual assessment, takes x-rays, drills out the damaged tooth area to completely remove the decay, and either fill, cap, or replace the tooth for complete pain treatment.

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Learn more about Cavity Pain & Tooth Sensitivity at Overlake Dental

If you are suffering from pain or discomfort, and don’t know if it’s a cavity or experiencing tooth sensitivity, come see our Bellevue dentists for consultation and treatment.

How To Differentiate Between Cavity Pain & Tooth Sensitivity – Part One

Cavities vs Teeth Sensitivity

A tooth cavity is different from a tooth sensitivity, though most people may not be able to tell as their symptoms are somewhat the same. While a cavity can lead to tooth sensitivity, their causes and treatments are different. The presence of tooth sensitivity does not necessarily mean you have one or more cavities.

The Difference in Pain

A cavity can cause similar pain to sensitive teeth when triggered by heat or cold, but additionally, cavities are often triggered by sweet foods and drinks, too. A dull pain can also be felt if you bite down on the affected tooth.

Cavity pain can get worse over time as the cavity can grow in size and depth. You may have only one tooth with a cavity that causes pain. On the other hand, a sensitive tooth flares up with sharp pain when immediately on contact with cold (like ice cream) or heat (like coffee).When the cold or heat stimulus is removed, the pain ceases. Sensitivity usually affects several teeth, not just one.

Possible Causes of Cavities and Sensitivity

Cavities are caused by sugars and starches which create plaque on teeth. Plaque has bacteria that breaks down the enamel gradually, creating a hole that decays. On the other hand, when enamel weakens and wears down, the underlying layer with lots of nerves is exposed. Cold or heat affect the nerves causing pain. That’s a sensitive tooth.

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What You Can do If Your Teeth are Sensitive to Cold – Part Two

What can you do to manage the sensitivity.

Try to drink through a straw.

If you can’t avoid consuming cold drinks, such as water, juices, or other chilled beverages, use a straw. This bypasses your teeth so that the cold drink goes strength to the back of the mouth. You can be able to avoid the trigger.

Lick your favorite cold dessert.

Eat differently, not by biting or chewing, but by licking your ice cream or sorbet. If you have to chew on a cold salad, use that side of the mouth where you think there is no sensitivity, avoiding the other side. Be sure to cut up your salad into smaller pieces so that it doesn’t take you longer to chew.

Try breathing through your nose and not through your mouth.

A gust of cold air can hurt sensitive teeth, so try to cover your mouth with a handkerchief or a scarf and breath through your nose. Do this especially if you’re outside in cold weather. Avoid getting your teeth exposed.

Use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth and a soft-bristled toothbrush.

You still need to keep up with proper oral hygiene despite sensitive teeth. You can reduce tooth sensitivity by brushing twice a day and flossing once daily. Pick a soft floss that’s gentle on your gums.

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Treatment and More Helpful Tips in Bellevue

If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity to cold, see our Bellevue dentist here at Overlake Dental. Let us help you.

What You Can do If Your Teeth are Sensitive to Cold – Part One

Management Tips From Dentists

Did you feel a sudden jolt in your mouth, a sharp stab that’s inexplicably painful, gone as fast as it came? And you were just taking a bite out of your ice cream. There’s a tooth or teeth somewhere that’s sensitive. What has caused it?

The Enamel

Your tooth’s outer protective covering – the enamel – is compromised. A part of it has worn down or thinned out, so much so that the cold stimulus penetrated the enamel and reached the inside of your tooth. The next layer is the dentin which has many nerve endings that react to the cold. Cold foods, drinks, or even a cold burst of air can irritate the nerves, This is what is known as tooth sensitivity.

What can you do to manage the sensitivity.

You should go see your dentist for consultation. But if that isn’t an option just yet, here are some dentist-approved tips to deal with cold sensitivity triggers on a daily basis.

Read Part Two

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Can Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Cause Tooth Sensitivity?

The Dilemma of DIY Teeth Whitening

People resort to teeth whitening products in 3 ways: via the dentist, dispensed by the dentist to use at home, and over-the-counter products or made at home products without the oversight of the dentist. If you should opt for over-the-counter teeth-whitening kits (or via DIY method), which are plenty at drugstores and supermarkets, are you concerned about their safety? Can they cause teeth sensitivity?

Most whitening kits can be effective, depending on what you’re using it for. Is it for staining, discoloration? What level of whitening is the goal? Instructions should be carefully followed. All teeth whiteners contain the active ingredient hydrogen peroxide (which is much stronger) or carbamide peroxide.

Teeth Sensitivity

According to dental experts, teeth whitening kits are generally safe. There may be potential sensitivities, which are transient, especially if a combination of over-the-counter and dentist-dispensed whitening kits is used. The peroxide-based gel bleaches the stains on the tooth surface as well as stains deeper inside which causes the sensitivity. If the gums get in contact with the peroxide, there will also be sensitivity. The sensitivity will normally subside within a few days.

If you are already experiencing tooth sensitivity, teeth whitening may not be an option. Those who are susceptible to sensitivity, because gum recession is already present, or worn enamel has been detected, you will only increase your chances for sensitivity by using a teeth-whitening kit. It is still best to see your dentist, ask for a recommendation, before you start your DIY teeth whitening plans.

With that said, professional teeth whitening offers more advantages than using DIY whitening kits. Performed by a dentist, the process removes the uncertainty and discomfort of over-the-counter kits. Treatment in-office is more comfortable, customizable, and thorough. While the DIY option may be a lot cheaper, the benefits of professional whitenings are more cost-effective in the long run.

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Safe and Sure Teeth Whitening in Bellevue

When you are considering professional teeth whitening with minimum to no tooth sensitivity, come by Overlake Dental and ask your Bellevue dentist.