Tooth sensitivity can be triggered by a variety of factors such as hot or cold temperatures, sour or sweet drinks, and food, as well as deep filling or cavities. Tooth sensitivity is common and affects roughly 45 million Americans. It is also common to experience tooth sensitivity while wearing braces.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

Sensitive Teeth With BracesTeeth become sensitive when the enamel on the outside of your tooth wears away, exposing the dentin layer of your tooth or teeth. The dentin layer runs to the never center and is very porous, so the tubes react to hot or cold temperatures when they are exposed.

When you have braces, the discomfort you experience is caused by the pressure that is placed on your teeth by your braces. The amount of discomfort experienced varies between patients. It is important to note that this type of sensitivity will only last a few days and is not a permanent issue. Your orthodontist at King Orthodontics can provide you with ways to reduce tooth sensitivity caused by your braces for a more comfortable orthodontic treatment experience.

Other common causes of tooth sensitivity include:

  • Acidic foods – Drinks such as fruit drinks, soft drinks, coffee, wine, as well as citrus fruit, and sour candy can cause tooth sensitivity. After consuming acidic foods or drinks, be sure to rinse your mouth to help dilute the acid.
  • Overbrushing – This is one of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity. If you brush too hard with tough bristles, you will eventually end up brushing away your gum line. As your gum line recedes, it will expose the porous root surfaces that can cause some of your teeth to become extremely sensitive. It is recommended that you brush with a soft-bristled brush in an up and down motion twice a day to reduce your risk of tooth sensitivity.
  • Brushing right after eating/drinking – If you have had acidic foods or drinks, wait an hour before you brush your teeth. Acid softens your enamel and can cause more erosion during brushing if you do not wait, which can cause tooth sensitivity.
  • Grinding your teeth – Grinding your teeth at night can wear down your enamel. Wear a mouthguard at night while sleeping to prevent damage to the enamel.
  • Teeth products – Professional and at-home whitening treatments can irritate the tooth nerve. The main ingredient in many of these products is peroxide which can cause inflammation and irritation.

How Can I Alleviate Tooth Discomfort?

Having a good, consistent dental routine is the key to helping eliminate discomfort caused by tooth sensitivity. Consider a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth such as Sensodyne, which may help with your tooth sensitivity.

If toothpaste does not help, you may need more invasive treatments from your dentist. Sensitivity can be alleviated by adding a bonding agent to your tooth to seal it. If you have issues with receding gum lines, your dental care professional can graft on the new gum tissue.

What if My Teeth Are Sensitive Prior to Braces or Invisalign?

If you are thinking about getting braces, tooth sensitivity can be a major concern. The braces put pressure on your teeth and gums to move your teeth into the desired alignment, which can worsen pain or existing sensitivity you may have. As your teeth accommodate the adjustment process, your sensitivity will fade.

Any discomfort while wearing braces should be temporary; if you have persistent or extreme pain, consult your orthodontist. For those with extreme tooth sensitivity, Invisalign is a more comfortable alternative. Using a series of clear plastic aligners, Invisalign gently moves your teeth into the ideal position. Since Invisalign is removable, it is much easier to care for your teeth, helping to reduce your chances of sensitivity.

Ready to Start Your Journey to a New Smile?

Whether you are considering Invisalign or traditional braces, the experienced team at King Orthodontics will work to ensure you receive quality orthodontic care. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!