Crest Sensi-Stop Strips

Crest Sensi-Stop Strips

Who needs Crest Sensi-Stop Strips?

Sensitive teeth can be annoying, causing you to avoid certain foods or drinks, changing the way you chew or swallow, and even interrupting a conversation because you are in discomfort.  This blog highlights one of our favorite over-the-counter products that can help alleviate this common problem.

 {Disclaimer: Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures or sweets can sometimes indicate that a tooth has a cavity or a crack.  It is important to see Dr. Aanenson and Dr. Kuiper to confirm that this is NOT the case before proceeding to over-the-counter relief products.  Please scroll down to read our previous blog about Sensitive Teeth.}


How are Crest Sensi-Stop Strips different from other products?

There are many over-the-counter products available, mostly toothpastes like Sensodyne, which contain the ingredient potassium nitrate. Potassium nitrate is an effective desensitizer in some cases and must be applied to the teeth regularly to achieve the desired desensitizing effect.  In most cases, you need to use the sensitivity toothpaste twice daily for at least two weeks before you will notice any relief in sensitivity.  Crest Sensi-Stop Strips are unique in their active ingredient, the method of application, and the length of sensitivity relief they provide.


How do Crest Sensi-Stop Strips work?

Most tooth sensitivity is caused by gum recession, which exposes the roots of teeth. Tooth roots should be covered by gum tissue and insulated against the hot and cold temperatures of food and drinks that we consume.  When gums recede, the root structure is exposed to those temperatures, and in some cases become very sensitive.  The active ingredient in Sensi-Stop strips is oxalate, a chemical that has been proven to fill in the open tubules (pores) on exposed root surfaces, thus eliminating the transmission of hot or cold temperatures to the nerve inside the tooth.

They also use a unique delivery method: the same type of strip everyone knows as Crest Whitestrips. Instead of a whitening gel, the strips are coated in an oxalate-containing gel.  This allows them to be effectively applied directly to the area of sensitivity.  They cover about three teeth and should be left in place for 10 minutes.  For the best results, they are applied to the sensitive teeth for 10 minutes per day, 3 days in a row.  This technique has been shown in clinical studies to provide at least a month of relief from sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, sometimes even longer!  When you notice the sensitivity returning, simply use the strips again.


When should I use Crest Sensi-Stop Strips?

You can use them anytime you feel sensitivity on your teeth.  Make sure to follow the instructions.  You should not use them more than 3 times on the same site in less than 1 month.  If you did not experience any relief of the sensitivity in that area, you should contact Dr. Jason, Dr. Alex or Dr. Serena to discuss the issue.

These can be especially useful for people who dread getting their teeth cleaned because of the sharp pain caused by cold air or water used by your dental hygienist. If you have experienced this, try using a Sensi-Stop strip over the sensitive area 1-3 days prior to your dental cleaning.  Let your dental hygienist know that you have tried them and whether or not you notice a difference.


Need more information?

Call our office at 605-925-4999 (Freeman) or (605) 928-3363 (Parkston) to schedule your appointment today with Dr. Jason Aanenson, Dr. Alex Whitesell or Dr. Serena Whitesell!

Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive Teeth

 Many people experience sensitive teeth, and not everyone has the same symptoms.  You can have one sensitive tooth, or a mouth where every single tooth feels sensitive.  You can have sensitivity to cold and/or hot temperatures and sweet and/or sour flavors.  However you experience it, it is no fun!


Teeth are not supposed to be sensitive, and if they are, it is a symptom you should share with your dentist.  She will discuss your specific issues and try to isolate the cause of your sensitivity so that you can remedy the situation. 

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

 There are three main causes of tooth sensitivity.  In order to understand these, let's cover a little dental anatomy first.  Teeth are hollow, and the hollow space inside teeth contains a nerve that sens signals to your brain telling you when something is not quite right.  The part of the tooth you can see is called the crown.  The crown is covered in enamel, which is the hardest substance in the body, even harder than bone.  Enamel is made to be a solid coating over the crown of the tooth, protecting it from the sensations we expose our teeth to when we eat and drink.  The part of the tooth you cannot see because it is hidden in the jawbone and gums is the root.  The root of the tooth is not covered in enamel because it is meant to be encased in bone and gums. 

 1.  The first possible cause of tooth sensitivity is when there is a problem with the enamel coating of the tooth.  This includes cavities and cracks which disrupt the solidarity of the enamel and provide an opening for those sensations to reach the nerve inside the tooth. 

 2.  The second most common cause of tooth sensitivity is exposure of the root caused by gum recession.  When gums and bone recede, it exposes the root to the mouth and all the subsequent sensations associated with eating and drinking.  Because the root does not have enamel, it does not have the same protection as the crown of the tooth.  This means the nerve inside the tooth can feel temperatures and flavors more than it is supposed to.  (Gum recession does not always cause tooth sensitivity.  Dr. Jason, Dr. Alex and Dr. Serena will evaluate the area where you feel sensitivity to determine if this is the cause.)

3.  The third most common cause of tooth sensitivity that we see in our office is bruxism (clenching or grinding your teeth).  This can cause individual tooth sensitivity or an entire mouth full of sensitive teeth.  The cause of bruxism-related tooth sensitivity is hypersensitivity of the nerve inside the tooth because it is being subjected to abnormally-strong biting forces. 

 These causes can become interrelated because bruxism often leads to tooth cracks and gum recession.  But let's say cavities, cracks and gum recession have all been ruled out, and your teeth are still sensitive.  Now it's time to evaluate your whole mouth for signs of bruxism.  The hypersensitivity of the nerve caused by the heavy forces of bruxism can affect different teeth at different times or all the teeth at once and often is inconsistent.

 What Can I Do About Tooth Sensitivity?

 The very first thing to do is have a dental evaluation to rule out cavities and cracks.  Either of those conditions will require dental treatment to fix the problem.  Once the cause of the sensitivity is treated, it should subside.  It's not always an immediate cure; it can take a few weeks after treatment for the nerve to settle back to normal.  If you experience sensitivity more than a few weeks after treatment, you should have the tooth evaluated again. 

 If cavities or cracks are ruled out, then the cause of tooth sensitivity is likely a gum recession problem.  There are many ways to treat hypersensitivity from gum recession including (but not limited to) fluoride treatments, over-the-counter sensitivity toothpastes and strips, fillings to cover the exposed root surface, or gum grafting to return the gums to their proper position. 

If bruxism is determined to be the cause of your sensitivity, the simplest way to treat it is by wearing a mouthpiece (night guard) while you sleep that keeps the teeth separated and reduces the biting forces put on the teeth.

Tooth sensitivity can be treated relatively easily.  The most important factor in treating it is accurately diagnosing the cause, which is your dentist's job. 

 Need more information?

Call our office at 605-925-4999 (Freeman) or (605) 928-3363 (Parkston) to set up an evaluation with Dr. Jason Aanenson, Dr. Alex Whitesell or Dr. Serena Whitesell!