For as long as I can remember I’ve had sensitive teeth. There were always a couple of areas that I knew I couldn’t put ice cream or ice cold water. I’ve been a dentist for a quite a while and over the years I tried every solution out there for decreasing sensitivity without a whole lot of success. These included Sensodyne toothpastes, Gluma desensitizer (professional application only), Fluoride varnishes (professional application only), Crest Sensi-Stop Strips, and using dental bonding agents over the sensitive areas (professional application only). Nothing was really effective.
Then I started using a toothpaste product we sell at our office. I actually started using it to protect my teeth from cavities without thinking it would do much for the sensitivity. About a month after starting to use it I noticed that my sensitive teeth were no longer quite so sensitive. In fact, they were hardly sensitive at all. The wonder product that has reduced my sensitivity to an almost unnoticeable level? Prevident 5000 Sensitive Toothpaste. The only bad news for most people is that it is by prescription only.
It combats sensitivity in a couple of different ways. The first is by its high concentration of fluoride. Most regular over the counter toothpastes contain around 1000-1500 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride. Prevident contains 5000 ppm. High levels of fluoride are known to decrease sensitivity in teeth.
The second major active ingredient is 5% potassium nitrate. Potassium nitrate is used in many other over the counter sensitivity toothpastes such Sensodyne or Colgate Sensitive. Potassium nitrate is the most common ingredient used to combat tooth sensitivity. It helps plug the small tubes in the tooth where cold sensations can penetrate.
It’s important to note here that I’ve had a lot of patients who have had good success with over the counter sensitivity toothpastes. I just wasn’t one of them. Everyone’s level of sensitivity is different and some people require more desensitization than others. I just happened to be one of those people who needed more help than most. If you’re one of these people, Prevident 5000 Sensitive is something you should try.
So how do you get this product?
You’ll need a dentist to write a prescription for this specific product and check the box on the prescription that says not to substitute with a generic. As far as I’ve found, there aren’t any generic products that include a desensitizing agent along with the high fluoride concentration toothpaste. If you find something out there let me know by email or via the comments!
Almost any dentist will be happy to write this prescription for you. The only people who shouldn’t use this product are children under the age of 12 and people with certain types of thyroid issues as fluoride can cause some specific problems for them.
How long does it take to start working?
It takes a couple of weeks of consistent use to start seeing results. The fluoride and potassium nitrate take some time to build up to the levels needed to see an improvement in sensitivity.
Are there any other benefits to using this product?
High fluoride toothpastes like Prevident 5000 decrease your risk for cavities by a significant margin. Fluoride combines with the enamel crystals in your teeth to form an even harder crystal that is more resistant to acid attack. I’ve written before about how I think most people would benefit from a prescription strength fluoride toothpaste.
What if it doesn’t help with sensitivity?
You may have more going on than just sensitive teeth. Failing fillings, cavities, and bite issues can all show up as sensitivity. You’ll need a dentist to let you know for sure.