You've probably seen toothpaste intended to help reduce pain in sensitive teeth sold at stores and advertised on television. If you have a toothache or chronic discomfort while drinking or eating, picking up a tube of this toothpaste might seem like a good idea. Unfortunately, there are some problems with that line of thought. Before you buy desensitizing toothpaste, consider the following.
How Desensitizing Toothpaste Helps Painful Teeth
There's no doubt about it: desensitizing toothpaste works. These toothpastes contain chemical compounds that help to block nerve signals in the teeth. Sensitive nerves can be painful when touched by food and drink, or hot and cold temperatures. By filling in the small crevices of the teeth that lead to these nerves, you can block the pain signal that goes to the brain. This makes desensitizing toothpaste a valuable tool that dentists frequently recommend to patients.
The Problem With Self-Dosing
The problem with using desensitizing toothpaste is if you choose to do it without consulting a dentist first. Many people reach for this variety of toothpaste when their teeth hurt without talking to a dentist, either out of fear, cost concerns, or another issue. Unfortunately, desensitizing toothpaste doesn't treat the underlying problem that's making your teeth hurt.
In most cases, if the nerves in your teeth are sensitive and your teeth hurt when you try to eat or drink, it means that damage has been done to your teeth. Your enamel may be thin, or your teeth could be decaying and exposing the nerve as a result. In some cases, even if the pain is in the teeth, the health of your gums could actually be the underlying cause. In any case, using a desensitizing toothpaste might help you to feel a little better, but it's essentially just a stopgap measure. It won't correct the problem, nor prevent it from getting worse, and it may actually numb you enough so that you avoid seeing a dentist longer than you normally would have without the toothpaste.
When to See a Dentist
It might be frightening to do so if your teeth are hurting you, but the bottom line is, if your teeth hurt you should visit a dentist. Seeing a dentist is the quickest way to not only determine if there is a serious problem but to stop the progression and repair the damage.
If you dentist determines that your nerves are damaged or the dental work makes your teeth sensitive, they may then suggest that you use desensitizing toothpaste. With a dentist's examination and subsequent recommendation, you can be certain that this toothpaste is right for you and won't just be masking a big problem.
There are plenty of excuses that can be used to put off seeing a dentist, but try to put them all aside and get help if you're hurting. You can protect your teeth from experiencing serious damage just by being proactive and visiting the dentist on a regular basis.
Contact a business like Treman & Treman Family Dental Care for more information.