Many of our patients complain of "sensitive teeth" and are curious if products like Sensodyne, Crest Sensi-Releif or Colgate Sensitive actually work. With all the brands of toothpaste available on the market, their skepticism is very understandable.
The short answer is yes, these toothpastes will help make your teeth less hypersensitive to hot, cold and other stimulation. They typically contain an active ingredient called potassium nitrate that helps block the nerve endings on exposed dentin. Dentin is the material between enamel and dental pulp, and is often exposed in areas of recession. This is why patients who brush vigorously at their gum lines will frequently develop sensitivity problems. The abrasion of the toothbrush causes the gum tissue to recede, revealing exposed dentin underneath.
However, it is important to note that sensitivity toothpastes will not address other kinds of dental pain. Inflamed gums, severely cold sensitive teeth and teeth with active decay will not improve with the use of these products. Furthermore, you will need to use these toothpastes twice a day for about two weeks before you start to notice improvements. It is important to keep in mind the capabilities of these products and likewise manage your expectations. If you have any further questions about sensitivity, toothpastes or other over the counter dental products, please give our office a call or email!