Top Causes of Sensitive Teeth | Periodontist in Waldorf

Periodontist in Waldorf

If the idea of biting into an ice cream cone or swilling a cold drink makes you cringe, you may be one of the millions of people who suffer from sensitive teeth. Causes include tooth decay, worn enamel or fillings, cracked teeth, and exposure of tooth roots due to aggressive brushing, receding gums or periodontal (gum) disease. 

Periodontist in Waldorf MD

These conditions trigger sensitivity in several ways. One is movement of fluid in the dentin, the soft inner tissue beneath tooth enamel. The motion can irritate the tooth nerve, creating a tingling sensation and sometimes sharp pain.

Another common cause of tooth sensitivity occurs when the tiny tubes (tubules) of fluid in the dentin become exposed. This makes them vulnerable to temperature extremes, acidity, or contact with air through mouth breathing. This condition often results from excessive tooth wear, receding gums, periodontal disease, or physical damage to the tooth. 

Temporary Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Teeth whitening and orthodontic treatment may cause temporary teeth sensitivity. In most cases, this will disappear within a week or two. In severe cases of sensitivity, however, the tooth nerve itself may be exposed, causing severe pain and irritation and requiring immediate treatment.

What Can You Do About Tooth Sensitivity?

If you are suffering from sensitivity in your teeth, tell your dentist or hygienist at your next visit. They may need to screen for more serious underlying causes that could need treatment. They will also be able to recommend the best method of managing your discomfort. 

Is Teeth Sensitivity Preventable?

Some forms of sensitivity are preventable, such as overly aggressive brushing. This can cause higher levels of enamel abrasion and gum recession, two problems that can lead to increased sensitivity. If you participate in sports, always wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from trauma: chipped and cracked teeth often become sensitive.

After serious underlying issues have been ruled out, you can help to manage mildly sensitive teeth with special toothpastes that are designed for this purpose. If these do not provide sufficient relief, ask us whether a prescription product may be needed. 

In very severe and persistent cases of tooth sensitivity, root canal therapy, crowns, filling replacements, or gum grafts may provide permanent relief.

If you experience tooth sensitivity, we have options. Regular checkups are an important part of identifying the causes of teeth sensitivity — such as periodontal disease, tooth decay, and other issues — as early as possible. Contact our Alexandria dental team today to schedule an appointment.

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria, VA 22302

The Connection Between Periodontal Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis | Alexandria, VA 22302

Alexandria Dentist

Periodontal (gum) disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis, or RA, are inflammatory disorders. Both diseases prompt the immune system to attack its own tissues. In advanced periodontal disease, the result can be tooth loss; in RA, the effect is painful and swollen joints. Learn about the connection and what you can do to protect your overall health.

Periodontist in Waldorf

Studies show a strong connection between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Both involve inflammation, which is a protective immune system response to viruses and bacteria. RA is an autoimmune disease which causes it to mistakenly trigger inflammation even if there are no triggers present. Joint inflammation makes brushing and flossing challenging for some people with RA, in addition to many kinds of movement. 

The connection between gum disease and arthritis, however, goes much deeper. In the journal PLoS Pathogens, researchers found that the bacteria that causes periodontal disease, porphyromonas gingivalis, prompts an earlier onset of rheumatoid arthritis and increases its severity and progression. 

It is important for patients with rheumatoid arthritis to brush and floss twice a day, or as directed, and see the dentist regularly. If you have RA, it is also vital to work with your doctors to find out what treatments work best for you. People who have both gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis should have an informed care team composed of both a physician and a periodontist. 

If you don’t have a periodontist, you should get an evaluation from your general dentist every year to monitor the status of your gums. Research has found that when patients with rheumatoid arthritis successfully treat gum disease, RA pain and other symptoms get better. 

Patients with RA must pay close attention to oral health and schedule regular dental exams. They should also follow a healthy diet and carefully brush and floss. If you have RA and stiff hands or jaw make caring for your oral health difficult, speak to your dentist, hygienist, or occupational therapist about ways to make dental care easier. Here are some tips on how you can make dental care easier to manage:

  • Toothbrush: You can add a tennis ball or bicycle grip to your brush for a more secure handle.
  • Floss: Experiment with different types of floss, such as waxed, unwaxed, tape style or interdental brushes.
  • Toothpaste: Using toothpaste in a pump may be easier for you than a tube you need to squeeze.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis, contact our Periodontist in Waldorf MD office to schedule a consultation and learn what we can do to help you.

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria, VA 22302