Sensitive Teeth: Causes, Prevention & Treatments

Sensitive teeth can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. The sensation they create can interfere with basic everyday actions like eating, talking and breathing. Understanding how they occur and how to prevent them can serve to improve one’s quality of life.

As such, the Dentistry@Richmond team would like you to know about sensitive teeth, what causes them and how to prevent or treat them.

What are Sensitive Teeth?

sensitive teeth defined

Sensitive teeth usually occur when the enamel, the layer of your teeth over the dentin, wears down. This exposes the dentin and the teeth roots which include thousands of small tubules that lead to the interior of your tooth (pulp). Without protection from enamel, the nerves in your teeth can receive stimulation from heat sources like hot food (heat sensitivity), cold sources like ice and cold water (cold sensitivity), or sweet food through these dentinal tubules. This causes a painful experience. 

In addition to being a sign of cavities, gum disease, or a damaged tooth, dental sensitivity can also be an indication of other problems.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

The following are only a few of the many causes of sensitive teeth: 

  • Over time, vigorous brushing or the use of a toothbrush with a firm bristle can wear down the enamel and expose the dentin.
  • Some individuals have thin gum tissue as a genetic predisposition. Gum recession occurs when the gum line recedes from the teeth, exposing the roots. 
  • Inflamed and painful gum tissue may result in sensitivity because the ligaments that hold the gums in place have been removed, exposing the root surface that directly connects to the tooth’s nerve.
  • Broken or chipped teeth may allow heat, cold or plaque-containing germs to penetrate the pulp and cause irritation.
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth can wear away the enamel and reveal the dentin beneath.
  • Teeth whitening products are a well-known cause of tooth discomfort. The chemicals that are used to improve the brightness of a smile can also wear away the enamel to expose what lies beneath.
  • As you grow older, your enamel wears down more and more and the chances you develop gum recession increase. This can lead to tooth sensitivity.
  • Root surface sensitivity may be brought on by the presence of plaque and tartar.
  • If you have exposed dentin, several over-the-counter types of mouthwash include acids that might exacerbate tooth sensitivity (the middle layer of the tooth). The dentin layer of the tooth is further harmed by the acids. See your dentist about using a neutral fluoride solution if you experience dentin sensitivity.
  • Foods with a high acid content that are frequently consumed, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, pickles, and tea, can cause enamel erosion.
  • During dental cleanings, dental restoration implantation, and filling placement, people may experience sensitive teeth. Dental operations might temporarily increase sensitivity, which typically goes away in four to six weeks.

How is Tooth Sensitivity Prevented and Treated?

sensitive teeth prevention treatment

The cause of sensitive teeth must be identified before treatment is started. Make an appointment with your dentist if you experience persistent tooth sensitivity or pain. They must rule out any significant conditions. 

To lessen the possibility of dental sensitivity brought on by typical wear and tear: 

  • Maintain good oral hygiene by continuing to brush and floss your teeth properly to completely clean your mouth and teeth.
  • Employ a toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid abrading the surface of your teeth and irritating your gums.
  • Cut out any acidic foods that can gradually destroy tooth enamel with repeated ingestion or heighten sensitivity and trigger a pain response.
  • Employ fluoride dental products: A fluoridated mouthwash might lessen sensitivity when used daily. Inquire with your dentist about any products you can use at home.
  • Use a mouth guard at night if you grind or clench your teeth to prevent this from happening.
  • See the dentist frequently: Regularly visit a professional for cleanings, exams, and fluoride treatments.

Teeth sensitivity can occasionally go away on its own, particularly if it was caused by a filling or root canal that was recently completed. See a dentist if your teeth are sensitive and the problem persists. You may have exposed tooth roots or eroded enamel. In these circumstances, treatment may be necessary to address the problem.

There are certain dental procedures that could assist lessen sensitivity, such as the use of: 

  • Dental bonding can aid in covering the exposed root surfaces.
  • Applying fluoride varnish to the exposed root surface can also protect the nerves from pain stimulants.
  • Dentin sealants can also be spread on the root’s exposed surface to prevent triggering pain responses.
  • Many brands of toothpaste are specifically available for sensitive teeth. To find the product that works best for you, you might need to test out a few various brands. 
  • Applying a thin layer of fluoridated toothpaste with a Q-tip or your finger to the exposed tooth roots before night can also serve some protection.

Dentistry@Richmond – Quality Dental Services in Richmond, ON

Experiencing the kind of sensations brought on by sensitive teeth can be distracting at best and debilitating at worst. Learning how they occur and how to prevent or treat them can allow you to avoid many uncomfortable situations or get out of them.


Please contact us if you need treatment for teeth sensitivity or other dental problems. Dentistry@Richmond stands out for its innovative, contemporary approach to dentistry. Our clinic is cutting-edge, and our dentists are dedicated to lifelong learning. Our stunning modern workspace offers a chic environment for daily work and professional development. We work together as an enthusiastic, tech-savvy team that gets along well. Our dental professionals and support staff are committed to assisting you in maintaining good dental health and are interested in your career development.

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