Dr. Alison Fransen on CTV Morning Live
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Treating Sensitive Teeth

We’re pleased that one of our very own dentists was the guest on CTV Morning Live’s “Ask An Expert” segment on June 21, 2017.

Dr. Alison Fransen, owner of Wesbrook Village Dental, provided information about tooth sensitivity, causes and solutions, in a video segment with Jason Pires.

Watch the video, or you can read the transcript below.

Jason Pires: Welcome back. Well ’tis the season for frozen drinks and food of course. And if eating ice cream really does make you scream, Dr Alison Fransen is here with tips on how to deal with those sensitive teeth. Good morning, doctor.

Alison Fransen: Good morning.

JP: So what does cause sensitive teeth?

AF: The inside of our tooth is made up of dentin, which has microscopic tubules that contain tiny little nerve endings in them, similar to a sponge, or a sea sponge.

JP: And does it affect everyone differently?

AF: It’s covered by a hard layer of enamel and cementum, but if this layer is lost (some people have thicker layers of enamel than others) then the nerve endings are exposed and you’ll feel sensitive to cold, sweet, hot, things like that. And it sends a pain signal to your brain.

JP: Especially this time of year during summer when you’re having slurpees and ice cream, you get the brain freeze but you also get tooth pain.

AF: Tooth pain, yeah, that’s true.

JP: So is there anything we can do to reduce that sensitivity?

AF: Yeah, there is. You can visit your dentist and they can describe the symptoms and they can treat the underlying cause of the pain. Sometimes they’ll recommend a sensitivity toothpaste there. And with those, you brush twice a day, just like a regular toothpaste, and it can take 2-4 to see effects of it. It basically blocks up those little nerve endings from being sensitive.

JP: So it’s not one of those things where if you know you’re going to have a bunch of ice cream that day, an hour before you can do something—

AF: Oh no, you need long-term. And then if you need quick relief, there is a varnish that the dentist can place professionally, and that’s a lot stronger concentration and it lasts about 6 months. So it seals it up really well, even better than the toothpaste. But sometimes it’s due to clenching or grinding your teeth, so you might need a night guard. I have that as well, and it helps protect your teeth from eroding from that.

JP: What food should we stay away from. Because I know that everyone is tempted throughout the summer for all sorts of great food, whether it’s wine or fruit. Is there anything we should eliminate to avoid the chance of these sensitivity issues?

AF: Absolutely, yeah. Acidic foods can increase the sensitivity in your teeth because the acid erodes the enamel and makes it thinner. Acidic foods are wine, orange juice, oranges, lemon, pop especially because of the carbonic acid in the pop, and vinegars, things that are acidic will erode your tooth and make it more sensitive. Sometimes the toothpaste for whitening teeth can cause sensitivity, so you might want to go between your sensitivity toothpaste and your whitening. You can use both of them.

JP: Okay, and finally just one more word about ice cream because ’tis the season. People are going to be eating a ton of ice cream this weekend. Is there anything you should be aware of to try to reduce that sensitivity?

AF: Ice cream’s good for you. You can just use the sensitivity toothpaste and it’s fine to eat ice cream.

JP: So it’s not the way you eat it that will promote it.

AF: It’s the acidic foods and the eroding of your teeth that can cause the sensitivity to ice cream.

JP: Alright, well great information!

AF: Okay, thanks!

JP: Thanks for being here, Dr Alison Fransen.