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Managing Sensitive Teeth

Not everybody passes on a bowl of ice cream because they’re watching their waistline. Some of us are more concerned about how our teeth respond to excessively cold or hot food or drinks. It’s estimated that one in eight of us experience discomfort from sensitive teeth.

Tooth sensitivity can happen at any time, but experts note it’s more common if you’re between the ages of 20 and 40 – and if you’re female. Here’s what you should know about what may be the cause of sensitive teeth, and how to manage the discomfort.

What causes tooth sensitivity

The American Dental Association (ADA) reports that the most common causes of sensitive teeth include:

  • A cracked tooth
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Worn dental fillings
  • Aggressive tooth brushing
  • Periodontal (gum) disease

Teeth above the gum line are encased in a layer of enamel. Because your teeth are so important, this enamel is actually the strongest substance created by your body. This protection continues under the gum line where a layer of what’s known as cementum protects the tooth root.

Additionally, there’s a layer of protection under the enamel and cementum. It’s called dentin, and it has microscopic hollow tubes. When the dentin layer of your teeth loses the protective coating of either enamel or cementum, those hollow tubes allow heat or cold to stimulate internal nerves.

We’ve already learned that a wide variety of things can contribute to the loss of these protective coatings. That’s why it’s important to have a dental professional help you determine the cause. Proper oral hygiene and regular annual checkups are the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Beyond the obvious causes of tooth sensitivity

It’s extremely important to ask your dentist for help in determining what’s causing your sensitive teeth. While we’ve learned about the ADA’s top causes, there are many more – and some are things you might not think about.

We all want a nice smile, and sometimes that might mean we’re overdoing it when we brush our teeth. We also want that great, bright white smile – but it’s possible to weaken or damage enamel by using whitening products too often. And while you probably think your dentist would ever say such a thing, he or she might advise you that you’re overdoing it with flossing. 

Some of our habits can also contribute to sensitive teeth. Stress might cause you to grind your teeth and contribute to tooth sensitivity. You might not even be aware of it because you’re doing it in your sleep. Do you have a habit of chewing on ice? This seemingly harmless habit can damage tooth enamel or even grind it away over time.

Diet can also play a role in tooth sensitivity. Yes, fruit juice is healthy – but citrus is acidic and can be harmful to tooth enamel over time. Other foods, such as tomatoes, for example, are high in good nutrients but also in acid.

Treating sensitive teeth

It may be just occasional discomfort when you chew, or when you drink cold or hot liquids. For some, tooth sensitivity happens even when they breathe through their mouth. The good news is that modern dentistry has a treatment for any level of this kind of discomfort.

First step, make an appointment with your dentist and have a frank discussion about any type of discomfort you feel in your mouth. If it’s determined that you have no specific reason for tooth sensitivity – such as a cavity – your dentist may simply recommend a desensitizing toothpaste. It contains compounds that block sensation traveling from the tooth to its nerve.

You’re not going to get instant protection from a single application of this toothpaste. It’ll happen over a period of time, and your dentist can advise you about continued usage.

It might be necessary to return to your dentist to explore other options if the desensitizing toothpaste doesn’t offer relief. Treatments ranging from special sealants to treatments made with a laser often work when the just the toothpaste fails.

You don’t have to live with the constant concern that a sip of fresh coffee or a taste of your favorite ice cream flavor is going to give you a jolt of pain. Managing sensitive teeth is an easy task you can take on with the help of your dentist. Learn more about the advanced technology and calming culrture Dr. Randy Mitchmore offers at LifeSmiles to get a closer look at precisely what’s happening inside your mouth.

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Sally May-Frankum
Dental Hygienist

Sally’s favorite part about working with the team at LifeSmiles is the fun she has with her co-workers. Additionally, she appreciates working with Dr. Randy Mitchmore because much like her, he values whole-body health for his patients. She’s proud to be part of a team that does such high quality work.

Outside of the office: Sally enjoys being with her children and grandchildren and uses writing as a creative outlet. On the weekends, she can be found doing all things outdoors including hiking and biking.

 

Bucket List: Going to Europe, exploring every US state, and zip-lining.

Hero: The Highest Power of them all!

Toni Wilson
Queen of Charisma

 “Every great dream begins with a dreamer.”

Toni’s favorite thing about working at LifeSmiles is the beautiful scenery. When patients are having anxiety about their dental appointments, she creates a fearless atmosphere with her charisma and warmth. She is passionate about helping every patient achieve their dental health goals. She says she truly loves being part of a team where she can grow professionally and personally.

Outside the office: Toni loves spending time with her husband and their sons. She also likes to show off her green thumb with her work in her garden.


Bucket list item:
Travel around the world and learn about other cultures and regions.

Your hero: Harriet Tubman because she was passionate and a fearless leader unafraid of any of life’s challenges.

Mike Mireles
Elite Care and Education Specialist

Smiling is contagious

Mike began his career at LifeSmiles seeking an opportunity to expand his skillset and advance his career. Today he works at Dr. Michmore’s side through dental procedures and surgeries. He loves working at LifeSmiles because the entire team is continually learning and keeping up to date with the newest advancements in dentistry.

Outside the office: Mike enjoys barbecuing on his patio, traveling, and spending time with his family. He’s a dog dad of two: Tati and Tito.


Bucket list item:
To visit Thailand and Dubai and to try skydiving!

Your hero: Mike looks up to his parents and is forever grateful for the life lesson they taught him; respect, manners, strength, and to be a go-getter. He continues to carry these things with him with everything he does.

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Sandra Smith
Ambassador

Sandra is 44 years old and is a star athlete for the Special Olympics. At LifeSmiles, Sandra stocks patient rooms and the coffee bar. She does all kinds of special projects like decorating for holidays and preparing awesome gifts for our patients.

Sandra loves being around all her friends and is proud to wear a LifeSmiles shirt, jacket, and name badge. You’ll always find her smiling and helping make our patients smile too.

Outside the Office: Sandra likes to go fishing with her family, swim, go to dances, and walk the mall with her friends. She is very active in the Special Olympics and won second place in the state volleyball tournament (go, Sandra!) in 2020. She sings in her church choir and attends international performances with them.

Spirit Animal: Butterfly. She likes them because they are pretty.

Andie Willis
Director of Details

Andie is married with one son, Logan and now lives in The Woodlands. She grew up in Sugar Land and has followed in her mother’s footsteps – she has been in dentistry for over 35 years. Andie actually started out working in the office with her mom and learned many things from the way she worked.

Andie has been a Lead Dental Assistant for most of her career. She has worked for many specialists including oral surgeons and periodontists. She has extensive training in all facets of dentistry but especially enjoys the surgical and cosmetic side. As a science nerd, dentistry fascinates Andie and gives her a sense of accomplishment.

At LifeSmiles, she is our “Director of Details”. Andie is known for being a perfectionist because she likes to gather as much information as possible and go the extra mile to match Dr. Mitchmore’s high standards. She truly loves being part of our dedicated team of professionals who go above and beyond for our amazing patients.

Outside of the Office: Andie is addicted to Lagree fitness and loves to go off-shore fishing.

Your Hero: Her Mom. She is the most selfless person Andie knows.

John Copous
Chief Enthusiasm Officer

John became a new patient of LifeSmiles in 2008. He likes to tell people he was not allowed to leave. John worked down the street for 14 years before joining the team. He has a passion for meeting new people and extending genuine hospitality.

Often the first person people meet on the phone and when they walk in the door, you can count on John for a warm welcoming smile. You can even ‘hear’ it over the phone. He says, “I believe everyone deserves the red carpet treatment and love seeing other people smile.”

John hears stories every day how someone’s smile is holding them back. He can barely contain his excitement when shouting the praises of Dr. Mitchmore and the entire team. He shares passionate stories of how the transformations people have received at LifeSmiles, changed their lives.

Outside the Office: John loves being outside. He enjoys sharing a beach house with friends and family. He loves entertaining, throwing a party and cooking at home. He can start a conversation with anyone, anywhere. He’s an amateur stand-up comic.

Bucket List Item: To live in a foreign country for one year, somewhere near the beach. Take some time to write an epic love novel loosely based on my large Italian family.

Your Hero: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”. While fictional, the character incorporates admirable qualities from real life people. She believes in the goodness of everyone, keeps on going and moves forward despite any obstacle. She is able to find humor in other people’s quirks, accepts them and makes sense of it all. Plus, she’s a little outrageous too.