What causes teeth sensitivity?

Young Asian woman brushing teeth with sensitive teeth and looking in the mirror.

Find out what is causing your teeth to feel sensitive, how to get relief from sensitive teeth, and how to avoid future discomfort due to tooth sensitivity. 

Table of Contents

What to Do About Sensitive Teeth?

Nobody likes the feeling of sensitive teeth. Eating ice cream can feel like you just froze your face right off. But what is causing this pain in sensitive teeth? They are usually caused by worn-down tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots. Sometimes it may be caused by a cavity, a cracked or chipped tooth, a worn filling, or even gum disease. When dealing with sensitive teeth, you should see your dentist so that he or she can figure out what is causing the problem and get you the proper treatment for your circumstance.

What Does a Dentist Recommend for Sensitive Teeth?

1. Desensitizing Toothpaste

This is a toothpaste that helps block the pain from sensitive teeth.

2. Fluoride Application

Your dentist might apply fluoride to sensitive areas to help strengthen your teeth.

3. Desensitizing or Bonding

Some exposed root surfaces can be treated when you apply a bonding resin to the sensitive root surfaces.

4. Surgical Gum Graft

When your tooth root has lost gum tissue, gum tissue from another point in your mouth can be taken and attached to the sensitive area.

5. Root Canal

Your dentist may recommend a root canal if your pulp is inflamed.

How to Prevent Sensitive Teeth?

The best way to prevent sensitive teeth is by practicing good dental hygiene. Make sure to brush your teeth twice daily, use a soft-bristled toothbrush, and floss your teeth daily. Brushing more gently can be helpful, too; some people brush so hard they scrape their enamel right off. You may also want to consider your diet, as highly acidic foods and drinks can also remove your enamel.

Sensitive Teeth FAQs

Sensitive teeth are a condition in which the teeth experience discomfort or pain when exposed to certain stimuli. It occurs when the protective layer of enamel on the teeth wears down, exposing the underlying dentin and nerve endings. Hot or cold liquids, sweet or acidic foods, and even chilly air can cause dental sensitivity. The sensation can range from mild to sharp, shooting pains. They can be caused by various factors, such as tooth decay, gum recession, teeth grinding, or worn-out dental fillings.

It is essential to address tooth sensitivity, as it can significantly impact one’s ability to enjoy everyday activities like eating and drinking. Seeking dental advice and adopting proper oral hygiene practices can help alleviate the discomfort.

If you are experiencing sensitivity in your teeth, it is advisable to take it seriously and seek dental attention. While it is not usually a cause for immediate concern, it can indicate an underlying dental issue that needs to be addressed. Sensitive teeth can indicate tooth decay, gum disease, worn-out dental fillings, or other dental problems. Ignoring the sensitivity may lead to further complications and worsen the condition over time.

A dental professional can examine your teeth, identify the cause of the sensitivity, and recommend appropriate treatments or preventive measures. Taking proactive steps to address tooth sensitivity can help prevent further discomfort and potential dental complications in the long run.

Sensitive tooth pain can potentially go away, but it largely depends on the underlying cause and the steps taken to address it. Sometimes, minor sensitivity may resolve independently as the tooth enamel repairs itself or the nerve endings adapt to the stimulus. However, if the sensitivity persists or worsens, it is essential to consult with a dentist. They can identify the root cause of the sensitivity and provide appropriate treatment options. These may include desensitizing toothpaste, dental bonding, fluoride treatments, dental fillings, or other dental procedures tailored to the situation. With proper dental care and treatment, it is possible to alleviate or eliminate sensitive tooth pain.

Various factors can cause sensitive teeth. One common cause is the erosion or thinning of the protective enamel layer, which exposes the underlying dentin and nerve endings. This can occur due to aggressive brushing, acidic foods, beverages, or tooth decay. Gum recession, where the gum tissue pulls away from the tooth, can also expose the sensitive roots of the teeth.

Additionally, teeth grinding or clenching, dental procedures such as teeth whitening or dental restorations, and certain medical conditions like gum disease or tooth infection can contribute to tooth sensitivity. Identifying the specific cause is important to address and manage the sensitivity effectively.