Sensitive Teeth - Causes and Treatments

What causes sensitive teeth and ways to treat

If everyday culinary activities are something that make you grimace, it is possible that you have sensitive teeth. Sensitive teeth are incredibly common, affecting millions of people all over the world. It can be triggered by a variety of reasons, ranging from cracked teeth to exposed tooth roots caused by overzealous brushing.

Symptoms of Sensitive Teeth

Before jumping into symptoms of sensitive teeth, it is important to understand the makeup of a tooth. The surface is composed of two materials, enamel and cementum. The crown of a tooth is protected by the enamel, the most durable substance in your body. The cementum protects the root surface, and is embedded within the gum. Underneath the surface of both of these substances lies dentin. Dentin is not very dense; it has tiny tubules running throughout. When enamel wears down or the dentin becomes exposed in any way, these microscopic canals become susceptible to extreme temperature and acidic or sticky foods. This exposure stimulates cells and nerves within the tooth, causing hypersensitivity and overall unpleasantness. Tooth decay, pain and even periodontal disease can all be stopped through correct and consistent oral hygiene. Brushing too often and too roughly can result in root exposure and gum injury. Periodontal disease is an ailment, afflicting gums and the jaw bone. If left left untreated, the condition can progress to gums separating themselves from teeth. These newly formed pockets are ideal for bacterial growth that can destroy bone, making the roots of teeth visible. Routine dental appointments are necessary so that periodontal disease and other problems may be caught early and treated.


Sensitive teeth are very treatable. Desensitizing toothpaste is recommended to patients to help alleviate pain. It contains ingredients designed to obstruct outer sensation from getting to the nerve. This method usually necessitates multiple applications in order to decrease sensitivity. When looking for any dental care product, make sure that it bears the American Dental Association’s Seal of Approval to ensure that it is effective, as well as safe, and also look for the FDA Seal of Approval for proof that all the marketing claims on the product’s packaging are true. Using a desensitizing toothpaste should not replace a professional dental examination by your dentist. In-office treatments with a special fluoride gel may be necessary. Persistently sensitive teeth may require other solutions which only your Dentist can provide: a filling, a crown, a bonding or an inlay. The specific method will depend completely on what it is causing your sensitive teeth.