Looking at a wall of toothpaste choices at your local retail store can be overwhelming, with all the products for whitening, healthy smiles, fresher breath, and other claims that are supposed to help your teeth. You’ll notice that more and more brands offer formulas for sensitive teeth as well. Just what is in these toothpastes that is designed to decrease sensitivity?
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In the past, compounds such as stannous fluoride and strontium chloride have been added to toothpastes for the sole reason to decrease nerve pains in teeth, but in the last 30 years most of the ADA-approved desensitizing toothpastes instead now contain potassium nitrate. In order for a toothpaste to be desensitizing it must contain five percent (5%) potassium nitrate as an active ingredient.

The mode of action of potassium nitrate has been described as “a penetration of the potassium ions through the tubules to the A-fibers of the nerves of the pulp, where depolarization of these fibers is prevented after initial depolarization.” In other words, the potassium levels act to block the potential for pain that may be generated in the nerves of teeth. If high enough levels of potassium nitrate are maintained, the teeth are stable (they won’t polarize) and the perception of pain is decreased.

What this means to you is that in order to decrease the pain you may feel in your teeth, you must use a toothpaste containing 5% potassium nitrate for a minimum of two weeks. It will take this long before you have a high enough level of potassium within the pores of your teeth for those nerve perceptions to ease up a bit. Also, you will need to continue using the toothpaste every day, buying valium online.

The less enamel a part of a tooth has on it, the more likely the chance for sensitivity exists. Areas closest to the gumline as well as worn enamel on the biting surfaces often contain the tiny open pores that allow pain to occur within your teeth.

 Because potassium nitrate is considered safe for everyday use, feel free to choose a sensitive formula toothpaste as your regular, daily paste.  It won’t make a major toothache go away, but it will help with the nuisance pain that you may get with extreme temperature changes. Also, if you have a pain in a tooth that isn’t helped by your toothpaste, maybe it’s time to make an appointment to see Dr. Rossen to figure out why. You can call us at (469) 656-7265 any time you have an emergency and we will get you in as soon as possible.

Trish moved to The Colony in 1992 after finishing her bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene at Texas Woman’s University, and has been helping Dr. Rossen take care of his patients’ smiles since 1999.

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