Sensitive Teeth: Causes, Symptoms, Complications, and More


21 March 2024

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Have you ever winced at a cold sip of coffee or flinched at the taste of ice cream? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world experience the discomfort of sensitive teeth. While not a life-threatening condition, sensitive teeth can drastically impact your quality of life and enjoyment of food and beverages. Understanding the reasons and prevention of sensitive teeth therefore, becomes crucial.

This article is about sensitive teeth remedies, causes of sensitive teeth, reasons for sensitive teeth, how to treat sensitive teeth, treatment for sudden sensitive teeth, etc. By understanding the root of the problem, you can make informed decisions about managing your sensitivity and achieving a comfortable, pain-free smile.

What is Tooth Sensitivity

Each tooth consists of several layers. The outermost layer, the enamel, serves as a protective shield, safeguarding the underlying dentin, a softer tissue containing microscopic channels. Deeper still lies the pulp, housing the nerves and blood vessels responsible for tooth sensation.

Sensitivity arises when the enamel weakens or wears away, exposing the dentin. This exposes the microscopic channels, allowing external stimuli like temperature, pressure, and acidity to reach the nerves directly, triggering the characteristic twinge or sharp pain.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

There can be many reasons that contribute to tooth sensitivity, including:

  • Receding gums: Gum recession exposes the root surface, which lacks protective enamel and is naturally more sensitive.
  • Brushing too hard: Overzealous brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush can erode enamel and damage the gums, leading to sensitivity.
  • Acidic foods and drinks: Regular consumption of acidic beverages and foods, like citrus fruits, soft drinks, and coffee, can erode enamel over time.
  • Dental procedures: Certain dental procedures, fox example fillings, crowns, and teeth whitening, can temporarily increase sensitivity.
  • Cracked or chipped teeth: Cracks and chips in the enamel expose the underlying dentin, triggering sensitivity.
  • Teeth grinding: Grinding or clenching your hard teeth can gradually damage the enamel and contribute to sensitivity.

Symptoms of Sensitive Teeth

Sensitivity manifests in various ways, including:

  • Sharp, fleeting pain: A sudden, brief twinge or zing in response to hot, cold, sweet, sour, or spicy foods and drinks.
  • Discomfort with brushing and flossing: Brushing or flossing can trigger a dull ache or sharp pain in sensitive teeth.
  • Sensitivity to air: Inhaling cold air can cause a brief, sharp pain in exposed dentin.

The intensity along with the duration of these symptoms can be different depending on the underlying cause and severity of your sensitivity.

Potential Complications of Sensitive Teeth

While primarily uncomfortable, untreated tooth sensitivity can lead to further complications, including:

  • Increased tooth decay: Exposed dentin is more susceptible to cavities, potentially leading to further pain and dental issues.
  • Gum disease: Untreated gum recession can worsen, exposing more tooth roots and increasing sensitivity.
  • Difficulty enjoying food and drinks: The fear of triggering pain can limit your dietary choices and negatively impact your overall health.
  • Reduced quality of life: Chronic discomfort can affect your sleep, social interactions, and overall well-being.

Treatment Options for Sensitive Teeth

Fortunately, there are several treatment options are available to manage and alleviate tooth sensitivity, including:

  • Desensitising toothpaste: These toothpaste contain special ingredients that block the microscopic channels in dentin, reducing sensitivity.
  • Fluoride treatments: Professional fluoride treatments applied by your dentist can strengthen enamel and protect against further erosion.
  • Dental procedures: Depending on the reason behind your tooth sensitivity, your dentist may recommend fillings, crowns, or bonding to cover exposed dentin and protect the sensitive areas.
  • Lifestyle changes: Limiting acidic foods and drinks, switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush, and using a mouthguard at night to prevent teeth grinding can all contribute to managing sensitivity.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Sensitive Teeth:

Your dentist can diagnose sensitive teeth through a physical examination, discussing your symptoms, and sometimes, X-rays. Treatment depends on the cause and severity:

  • Desensitising toothpaste: These contain ingredients that block the tubules, reducing pain.
  • Fluoride treatment: Fluoride strengthens enamel and helps prevent further erosion.
  • Dental procedures: Depending on the cause, your dentist might recommend procedures like fillings, crowns, gum grafting, or bonding to protect exposed dentin or address underlying issues.

Home Remedies for Sensitive Teeth:

While not a substitute for professional treatment, some home remedies can offer temporary relief:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush: Avoid aggressive brushing and opt for gentle, circular motions.
  • Use a desensitising toothpaste consistently.
  • Avoid triggers: Limit acidic and sugary foods and drinks, and use a straw to avoid direct contact with sensitive areas.
  • Apply topical pain relievers: Over-the-counter numbing gels can provide temporary relief.

Prevention of Sensitive Teeth:

Good oral hygiene is key to preventing sensitivity:

  • Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily to remove plaque and bacteria under the gum line.
  • Use a mouthwash containing fluoride.
  • Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
  • Avoid acidic or foods high in sugar and drinks.
  • Wear a mouthguard advised by your dentist if you grind your teeth.

Sensitive teeth can be extremely painful, but with the right diagnosis and treatment, you can manage the condition and enjoy a pain-free smile. Remember, early intervention is crucial to prevent complications and maintain good oral health. Don’t hesitate to consult your dentist if you experience tooth sensitivity, as they can guide you towards the most effective solution for your individual requirements.

When is it Time to Seek Professional Help for Sensitive Teeth

If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, it’s crucial to seek professional dental advice. Your dentist can diagnose and inform you of the underlying cause of your sensitivity, recommend the treatment options that are most suitable, and monitor your progress for optimal results.

By understanding the causes of your tooth sensitivity, symptoms, and treatment options for sensitive teeth, you can take better care of your oral health and enjoy the comfort of a pain-free smile. Remember, early diagnosis and treatment of sensitive teeth are key to managing sensitivity and preventing further complications. So, don’t suffer in silence; schedule an appointment with your dentist today and embark on your journey towards a comfortable and confident smile.

In this article, we saw in detail, sensitive teeth remedy, sensitive teeth cure, causes of sensitive teeth, reasons for sensitive teeth, how to treat sensitive teeth, sudden sensitive teeth and treatment for sensitive teeth along with prevention of sensitive teeth. 

Sensitive teeth can be caused due to receding gums, brushing too hard, having acidic food frequently, and teeth grinding. Its main symptom is sharp pain due to exposure of the tooth enamel to food that is too hot or too cold, such as coffee or ice cream. To find relief from sensitive teeth, use desensitising toothpaste, avoid acidic food and opt for over-the-counter medicines. If the symptoms still continue, schedule an appointment with your doctor soon. You can successfully prevent sensitive teeth if you limit your intake of acidic food, floss and brush your teeth twice everyday and visit your dentist once every six months.


Why are my teeth sensitive all of a sudden?

Several factors can cause sudden sensitivity, including:

  • New toothpaste or mouthwash: Some products contain ingredients that can temporarily irritate teeth.
  • Chipped or cracked tooth: A recent chip or crack could expose dentin and trigger sensitivity.
  • Receding gums: A new episode of gum recession might expose sensitive root surfaces.
  • Recent dental procedure: Fillings, crowns, or teeth whitening can temporarily increase sensitivity.
  • Aggressive brushing: Over brushing can wear down enamel and expose dentin.
  • Dietary changes: Increased intake of acidic or sugary foods and drinks can exacerbate sensitivity.

If the sensitivity persists, schedule an appointment with your dentist to figure out the cause and discuss treatment options. Book a consultation with Rouse Hill Dental Smiles Dental Care today.

How do you fix sensitive teeth?

The best way to fix sensitive teeth depends on the underlying cause. Your dentist will recommend the most suitable approach, which could include:

  • Desensitising toothpaste: Formulated to block tubules and reduce pain.
  • Fluoride treatment: Strengthens enamel and prevents further erosion.
  • Dental procedures: Fillings, crowns, gum grafting, or bonding to address specific issues.
  • Lifestyle changes: Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, avoiding triggers, and maintaining good oral hygiene.

Can tooth sensitivity go away?

Yes, sensitivity can go away or subside depending on the cause and severity. Early intervention with proper treatment is often successful. If the cause is temporary, like using a new toothpaste, the sensitivity typically resolves. If the cause is more complex, like receding gums, treatment can manage and reduce the sensitivity but may not eliminate it completely.

Can a sensitive tooth nerve heal itself?

Unfortunately, exposed dentin cannot repair itself. However, addressing the underlying reason can prevent further damage and reduce pain. Your dentist can suggest solutions to protect the exposed dentin and nerves, like desensitising products or dental procedures.

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