Cold Weather and Sensitive Teeth

The cold winter winds are upon us again.  For many people this means increased pain associated with tooth sensitivity.  Tooth sensitivity is a sensation felt when the nerves inside the teeth are irritated by exposure to the environment.  Typically, extremes in temperature, cold air and even tooth brushing may elicit this quick and very painful response.

Although tooth sensitivity can be caused by a variety of factors including cavities and night grinding, it is most often caused by gum recession and subsequent root exposure.

As shown by the black arrow, this patient has gum recession likely as a result of brushing too hard.  As the gums recede, the root of the tooth is exposed to the environment.  The root of the tooth lacks the protective enamel coating, exposing the nerves of the tooth and resulting in pain particularly with cold air and cold liquids.  Many patients have reported having to give up some of their favorite foods and drinks simply because they don’t want to suffer from the sensitivity.

Our offices may be able to offer a unique and helpful perspective if you are suffering with tooth hypersensitivity.  Dr. Gregory Dodd spent many years working as a scientist studying different ways to treat sensitive teeth.  In 1998, Dr. Gregory Dodd was honored by Block Drug Company, makers of Sensodyne, Poli-grip, Poli-dent and numerous prescription dental products, as “Scientist of the Year” for his innovative research into the treatment of dentinal hypersensitivity (tooth sensitivity).

Dr. Dodd’s inventions lead directly to the launch of a New and Improved Maximum Strength Sensodyne Toothpaste in the United States and Sensodyne Duo overseas. (US Patent #6,241,972).  Additionally, he holds patents that were used in prescription oral care formulations for the treatment of tooth sensitivity (US Patent #6,592,853) and a patent for a novel desensitizing agent that promoted remineralization of the root surface (US 20020037258).

By having such a good understanding of the condition and the treatments available, our Dentists and Hygienists are uniquely qualified to help you treat this painful condition.  If you or someone you know suffers from tooth sensitivity let us know, we would be happy to help.  Because NOBODY should have to give up ice cream!

New Year’s Dental Resolutions

Now that 2013 has arrived, many of us may be thinking about our resolutions.  Here are some helpful tips that will keep your teeth healthy and happy in the new year.

#1: Floss every day.

#2: Use only a soft toothbrush with rounded nylon bristles.  Preferably an electric toothbrush like the Oral B or Sonicare.

#3: Avoid starchy foods like chips and crackers.  Often deceiving, these treats can be just as harmful as sweets.

#4:  Choose healthy foods like cheese, nuts, crunchy vegetables and crisp fruits.  In addition to physically helping to remove plaque from the teeth, these snacks contain nutrients that help promote tooth and gum health.

#5: Drink plain tea without sugar.  Antioxidants and nutrients in tea have been shown to be beneficial in promoting improved gum health and shown to help in reducing cavities.

#6:  Brush after every meal or at least twice a day with a fluoride containing toothpaste.

#7:  Never use your teeth to open anything.

#8: Don’t smoke.  Not only does smoking stain the teeth and cause bad breath, it also decreases your salivary flow which leads to cavities and the chemicals in cigarettes are linked with oral cancer development.

#9: Use a mouthguard if you play contact sports.

#10: SMILE!!  Studies have found that the simple act of smiling helps lower heart rate and blood pressure, improve mood and lower anxiety.  In addition, smiling has been found to release endorphins in the brain, the chemical messenger that helps us feel happy.

Our Dentists and staff want to thank all of you for trusting us with you and your families dental needs.  We look forward to a healthy and happy 2013, from our family to yours.