What is Teeth Sensitivity? Causes & Treatments
15 Feb

What is Teeth Sensitivity? Causes & Treatments

Does drinking ice-cold water or beverage cause you discomfort? Or do you find yourself wincing when flossing or brushing?

You might take these questions as from a popular television advertisement of the brand Colgate. But, these are the questions everyone must ask themselves to know their teeth better.

If you bite into some freezing-cold ice cream or knock back some soda, and suddenly you are wracked with pain. You then start to feel that your teeth are aging or you becoming old and so your teeth are. Having noticed any of these symptoms, you are under the umbrella of tooth sensitivity. Don’t worry, many are there with you.

You don’t have to put up with pain, however. Some things can put you in less pain. There are things you can rely on to come out of the sensitive tooth.

Jump To:

  1. What is teeth sensitivity?
  2. Why are my teeth sensitive?
  3. The Biggest Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
  4. Treatments for Teeth Sensitivity
  5. FAQs

What is teeth sensitivity?

Teeth sensitivity is a condition where the underlying layer of the tooth - dentin becomes exposed. This happens when the teeth' enamel is broken or gradually wiped off. Also, erosion(wear & tear) or gum recession (exposing the teeth roots) may cause teeth sensitivity.

If you understand the tooth anatomy, some teeth roots are uncovered by hard enamel and contain thousands of tiny tubules. These form the tooth’s center usually called the pulp. These tubules allow stimuli - i.e. These make the hot and cold to reach the nerve in your tooth, which results in pain. Sometimes prolonged sensitivity is also a symptom of cavities, gum diseases, or a cracked tooth. Tooth Sensitivity is also called Dentin Hypersensitivity.

Sensitive teeth are very common among people and you might have seen your friends who refuse to eat or drink extremely cold food or beverages, even water. People with tooth sensitivity eating and drinking certain temperature freeze foods create discomfort. Don’t worry friend, you are not alone. Around 12% of people are reported with tooth sensitivity according to the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Though the pain is sharp and sudden, it is temporarily based on the stimuli caused by tooth roots. A sensitive tooth can be treated and it can be improved with little medical and home or personal care. There are no at-risk groups for tooth sensitivity unless it is prolonged. It can happen to anyone and is curable.

Why do teeth become Sensitive?

Teeth are covered on top with a layer called enamel and cementum. This protects the teeth from regular exposure to acids that we consume from everyday diet and beverages or drinks. The crown portion of the tooth is covered with enamel and the root portion present below the gum line is covered by the cementum. The layer underneath these two is called dentin.

The primary triggers of tooth sensitivity are consuming acidic, cold, hot, sour, or sweet foods and drinks, breathing cold air, and/or brushing or flossing already sensitive teeth. Most commonly, symptoms manifest as a sudden, sharp, and sometimes deep pain in a tooth that then goes away. Highly acidic food or beverages promotes the wear & tear of these layers causing the tooth root weak and sensitive to strong stimuli from hot or cold temperatures.

We, humans, are most keen on the quickest recovery procedures than finding the root causes and preventives to follow. What many people with tooth sensitivity don’t realize is the root cause of it. That knowledge is essential to figure out the root of sensitivity and then identify a viable solution. So, without further ado, let us take a look at some of the under-looked causes of tooth sensitivity.

Causes for Tooth Sensitivity

However the root cause is the loss of a protective covering around a tooth’s dentin, there are various other causes to look into in detail. Several factors contribute to the wear & tear of a tooth’s enamel or cementum.

Brushing too Hard:

I can understand your morning blues and hesitation to get out of bed. But dude, what did your teeth do?  You sometimes become so rude to them in hurry or out of possessiveness to make them brighter than your fellow mates.

Over time, brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled brush can wear down the enamel. This then makes the dentin exposed. It can also cause, gum recession, making the gum tissues pull away from your teeth. Then this makes the tubes exposed to temperatures or acidic or sticky food and results in tooth sensitivity.

Eating an acidic/high-sugar food:

We will all have addictions to Tea, coffee, drinks, or snacking on sugary foods. Of course, they are the best options to quickly energize the body curbing the hunger to have them. But, all these contain acidic nature or harsh chemicals that can easily wipe off the protective layers of the tooth.

These are to be highly avoided as they cause the pathways to your nerves to make them sensitive. Not just cool drinks but also Soda, tomato sauce, lemon, grapefruit, kiwi, and pickles contain acidic properties. Sugary foods like Candy, caffeine and refined carbs can also erode the enamel layer. Frequently relying on them may cause sensitivity creating pain and discomfort.

Tooth Grinding:

Tooth enamel is the strongest protective layer on your tooth and no doubt about it. But, frequent grinding of your teeth may damage them and it gets worn off. If you cannot control grinding teeth, talk to your dentist and get the tips or any dental guards that stop you from grinding.

Teeth Whitening toothpaste:

Aesthetics have become the most common need among individuals. Tooth whitening, dentures, or dental caps are common aesthetic dental procedures. It is good to choose the toothpaste that makes our teeth clean and white, but make sure it is composed of less or zero acidic formulas.

Few of this toothpaste will have harsh chemicals that weaken the enamel. If your toothpaste contains teeth-whitening agents, consider switching to one that doesn’t have such agents. Though the enamel is the strongest, the chemicals that instantly wash out the debris do not be helpful for your tooth health.

Junkie Mouthwash addiction:

We have to be orally healthy and fresh all the time. But, for this, mouthwashes are not the only solution. They are helpful for instant freshening but they may damage tooth health. Like whitening toothpaste, some over-the-counter mouthwashes and rinses contain heavy chemicals or alcoholic solutions that make teeth more sensitive - especially if the dentin is exposed. Instead of these, try neutral fluoride-based solutions or you can skip the rinses if you strictly follow flossing and brushing.


Treatments for Teeth Sensitivity:

Desensitizing Toothpaste -

Desensitizing toothpaste may, after several applications, assist in reducing the discomfort brought on by sensitive teeth: There are numerous nonprescription products available. Consult your dentist about the ideal product for your dental care.

Fluoride/Fluorosis -

To build tooth enamel and lessen pain, your dentist may administer fluoride to sensitive tooth locations. Additionally, he or she might advise using prescription fluoride at home in a customized tray.

Desensitization or Bonding

Applying an adhesive resin to delicate root surfaces can sometimes be used to treat exposed root surfaces. There may be a need for local anesthetic.

Surgical gum transplant

A little piece of gum tissue from your mouth can also be extracted and connected to the problematic area if your tooth root has lost gum tissue. This will lessen sensitivity and safeguard exposed roots.

Root canal

Your dentist may suggest a root canal to treat issues with the tooth's soft core if your sensitive teeth are painful and other treatments are ineffective (dental pulp). Although it could appear like a significant procedure, this method is thought to be the best for getting rid of sensitive teeth.

Read More about post-operative care for Root Canal Treatment.

Sensitive teeth pain can be stopped.

When you know the symptoms and frequency of tooth sensitivity pain, you can simply follow these tips to get relief instantly. If the pain is severe and is prolonged, immediately consult the dentist near you and ask to suggest the proper care and medication.

Here are some steps that can lead you to relieve sensitive tooth pain.

  1. Use soft bristles toothbrush. Don’t be harsh on your teeth while brushing.
  2. Avoid frequently taking too hot or too cold foods and drinks.
  3. Change your toothbrush and toothpaste as per your dentist's suggestion.
  4. Take special care of your tooth if you are under any dental or oral treatment like teeth whitening.
  5. If you have mild pain, use salt water to rinse water to instantly relieve it.
  6. Avoid acidic foods. They are the biggest enemies of your teeth' health.
  7. Be sure to properly clean your teeth from each corner.
  8. Visit your dentist regularly and get your dental analysis to better care for them from time to time.

These steps not only relieve you from pain or discomfort from teeth sensitivity but also helps you in stopping your tooth to enter the sensitivity phase.

Talk to the dentist when you experience severe sensitivity

Dr. Jaydev's dental clinic combines a technical expertise procedure to diagnose and define the best treatment plan.

If you are still unclear about tooth sensitivity, talk to our specialists and get the right path for you.

For any kind of dental emergency, contact us to get an instant appointment schedule.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get Every Single Answer About The Treatment

1. Can sensitive tooth pain go away?

Yes. In most cases, the pain is temporary and goes on its own. If you suffer prolonged pain, then it indicates the severity of sensitivity and you might need to meet your doctor.

2. How do you stop sensitive teeth pain?

It depends on the cause. If it is a lingering sensitivity, you may need to rule out any serious conditions and then proceed. For normal sensitivity, you can control it by using desensitizing agents, a soft-bristled toothbrush, proper diet, and good oral hygiene.

3. When should I meet the doctor?

If the pain or discomfort while exposed to hot or cold beverages or foods exceeds bearable limits, your enamel might have eroded and you just need dentists to advise.

4. What are the desensitizing agents?

Metal ions, potassium, and oxalates are the desensitizing agents present in toothpaste dedicated to sensitive teeth.

5. How can I diagnose tooth sensitivity?

If you experience minor sensitivity for the first time, but frequently, meet your dentist to examine the dental and oral roots. If the pain or discomfort continues for longer days, then you may need to start medication immediately.