Sensitive teeth: Causes and therapy

Sensitive teeth: Causes and therapy

Sensitivity to hot and cold substances is a common dental problem. It occurs when dentin (the second layer of the tooth) loses its hard enamel protective coating.The dentin contains microscopic canals called dentin tubules. When the dentin is exposed, the tubules allow fluid to flow into them. They are affected by heat and cold, causing the nerves in the tooth to have sensitivity and pain.

Factors that contribute to sensitive teeth :

  • Brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush: Wears  down enamel, causing dentin to become exposed.
  • Gum recession
  • Gingivitis: Inflamed  gum tissue can result in exposure of the tooth’s root.
  • Cracked teeth
  • Teeth grinding or clenching:Wears down enamel.
  • Tooth-whitening products. These products can also harm the enamel, especially when they are used without the dentist’s supervision.
  • Plaque
  • Acidic foods : These can encourage enamel reduction.
  • Dental procedures. Teeth may be sensitive after professional cleaning, root planing, crown replacement and other tooth restoration procedures. Usually the pain will disappear in four to six weeks.


  • The dentist can recommend certain desensitizing toothpastes that are designed to reduce sensitivity.
  • Another solution is to apply a chemical sealant in order to form a protective layer on the tooth and exposed dentin
  • Use a soft to medium bristled toothbrush.
  • Avoid highly acidic foods.
  • Use a fluoridated mouthwash daily.
  • Avoid teeth grinding : Mouth guards are often a good solution