Tooth Sensitivity


Dentin hypersensitivity, also known as tooth sensitivity, refers to pain or discomfort in the teeth as a response to stimuli. Teeth can become overly sensitive for a number of reasons with the most common being worn enamel or exposed tooth roots. This discomfort can range from a mild twinge to severe pain that spans several seconds to several hours.

While uncomfortable at times, it is very common. Learn more about tooth sensitivity, what causes it, and how to treat it.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

It can be hard to pinpoint the cause of sensitive teeth. Some people naturally have more sensitive teeth than others due to having thinner enamel. However, tooth sensitivity can have other causes, such as:

  • Too Much Mouthwash – While everyone wants fresh breath, rinsing your mouth too often can cause sensitivity or make existing sensitivity worse. Limit the use of mouthwash to once a day or ask your dentist about mouthwash options for sensitive teeth.
  • Acidic Foods – While it’s okay to enjoy certain foods in moderation, too much of a good thing can lead to tooth sensitivity. Acid-rich drinks and foods, such as orange juice, tomatoes, and citrus fruits, can slowly erode the over covering of your teeth.
  • Tooth Whiteners – With the wide availability of tooth whitening products on the market, many people are whitening their teeth at home. Unfortunately, these bleaching solutions can be harsh on tooth enamel.
  • Receding Gums – Tooth roots contain tiny tubes that carry feeling to the pulp. Although these roots are usually covered by gum tissue, gum disease can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth, exposing the sensitive root underneath.
  • Aggressive Brushing – Brushing too hard or brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth. Aggressive brushing can also expose tooth enamel.
  • Grinding or Clenching – If you grind or clench your teeth, you could be wearing away your enamel. Consider wearing a mouthguard when you sleep and implementing lifestyle habits to alter these behaviors.
  • Tooth Decay – Decay can expose the tooth root to various irritants, such as hot, cold, and sweets. Practicing good oral hygiene can help protect your teeth from tooth decay.

How Is Tooth Sensitivity Treated?

If you suffer from tooth sensitivity, you may be on the search for a solution. Here are some ways that you can find relief:

1. Switch to a Toothpaste Made for Sensitive Teeth

There are several kinds of toothpaste on the market made specifically for people with sensitive teeth. These toothpastes contain ingredients that help temporarily fill the holes in the enamel and dentin, which reduces the exposure to your teeth’s nerves.

2. Brush with a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush

If you don’t already, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush. A toothbrush with stiff bristles can scrub away the enamel and worsen gum recession. A soft-bristled toothbrush, along with a gentle brushing technique, can help preserve your enamel.

3. Wear a Mouthguard at Night

Tooth sensitivity can be caused by grinding your teeth while you sleep. This condition is known as bruxism and can lead to the premature wearing of your enamel. Ask your dentist about making a custom mouthguard for you to wear while you sleep.

4. Avoid Problematic Foods and Drinks

While you don’t need to cut out certain foods from your diet completely, you should consider limiting foods and drinks known to cause tooth sensitivity. This means limiting acidic foods and beverages like coffee, sodas, fruit, and pickles.

5. Visit Your Dentist Regularly for Dental Checkups

Tooth sensitivity can develop for a wide range of reasons and it might not always be clear to you how to resolve it. Regular visits with your dentist can help you maintain good dental health and wellness.

Contact Us

Mild cases can often be treated at home using the tips mentioned above. However, if sensitivity continues without improvement or worsens over time, it is important to speak with your dentist about your concerns. For more information about tooth sensitivity or to schedule an appointment with your dentist, contact Bonham Dental Arts.