The Ultimate Guide to Sensitive Teeth

Are you tired of the discomfort that comes with sensitive teeth? Say no more! We're here to help you understand and overcome this common dental issue so you can enjoy the foods and drinks you love the most. Get ready to conquer tooth sensitivity and unleash your radiant smile. Let’s explore the causes, treatment options, and effective prevention methods to alleviate sensitive teeth.

Causes of Sensitive Teeth:

  1. Erosion: Enamel, which is the protective outer layer of your teeth, can wear down over time and expose the underlying dentin. Dentin contains microscopic tubules that connect to the nerves of your teeth, making them more sensitive to external stimuli. Tooth erosion can occur from various reasons such as consuming acidic foods and drinks, acid reflux, frequent vomiting, acidic medications, or brushing too hard, to name a few.
  2. Gum Recession: Receding gums can expose the root of the tooth, which lacks the protective enamel layer. This exposes the dentin and increases tooth sensitivity. Some common causes of receding gums occur from gum disease, poor oral hygiene, aggressive brushing, or even smoking.
  3. Tooth Decay: Cavities or dental caries can lead to sensitive teeth as the decay progresses and reaches the inner layers of the tooth, causing irritation and sensitivity.
  4. Teeth Grinding: Habitual grinding or clenching of teeth, known as bruxism, can wear down the enamel, leading to tooth sensitivity.
  5. Dental Procedures: Certain dental treatments like teeth whitening, fillings, or crowns can cause temporary tooth sensitivity due to the temporary irritation caused to the tooth nerve endings.

Treatment Options:

  1. Desensitizing Toothpaste: Using toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth can help alleviate discomfort over time. These toothpastes contain ingredients that block the transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve.
  2. Fluoride Treatment: Professional fluoride treatments or using fluoride-rich toothpaste can strengthen tooth enamel, reducing sensitivity. New research now shows that using a 10% nano-hydroxyapatite toothpaste can also alleviate the symptoms of sensitive teeth.[1]
  3. Dental Bonding: In cases of exposed dentin, dental bonding, can be performed to seal the tubules and protect the nerves from external stimuli.[2]
  4. Gum Grafting: When gum recession has occurred, sometimes it is advised to replace the missing gum tissue with tissue from another location in your mouth. This can help protect the exposed roots to reduce sensitivity.[3]
  5. Nightguard: Wearing a custom-made nightguard while sleeping can protect teeth from the damaging effects of bruxism, reducing sensitivity.[4]
  6. Root Canal Therapy: In severe cases where the tooth sensitivity is persistent and unbearable, a root canal treatment may be necessary to remove the affected nerve, providing relief.

Prevention Methods:

  1. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: Brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush and sensitivity toothpaste, along with regular flossing, helps maintain healthy teeth and gums.
  2. Avoid Acidic Foods and Beverages: Limit your consumption of acidic foods and drinks like citrus fruits, sodas, and sports drinks as they can erode tooth enamel.
  3. Use a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush: Brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush and using gentle, circular motions helps prevent enamel erosion and gum recession.
  4. Limit Teeth Grinding: If you grind or clench your teeth, consider stress-reducing techniques, and consult your dentist about using a nightguard.
  5. Regular Dental Check-ups: Regular visits to your dentist allow for early detection and treatment of any dental issues that may lead to sensitive teeth.

Sensitive teeth can be a bothersome condition, but by understanding the causes, available treatments, and prevention methods, you can take control of your dental health. If you are unsure of the root cause of your sensitive teeth, check out the peri oral health test. Your sensitivity could be from an underlying gum or tooth issue that is not visible to the naked eye. Remember, it's essential to consult your dentist for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. With proper care and attention, you can enjoy a pain-free smile and indulge in your favorite foods and beverages without discomfort.

About Dr. Kantor

Alexandra Kantor is a prominent dentist and entrepreneur, known for her contributions to the dental industry. With over 10 years experience as a practicing dentist, she has gained a deep understanding of her patient's oral health and overall well-being. In 2022, Dr. Kantor founded peri, an at-home saliva test that specializes in analyzing key bacteria within the mouth. Dr. Kantor holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Indiana School of Dentistry and is dedicated to promoting oral health through advanced technology.

  1. Amaechi BT, Lemke KC, Saha S, Luong MN, Gelfond J. Clinical efficacy of nanohydroxyapatite-containing toothpaste at relieving dentin hypersensitivity: an 8 weeks randomized control trial. BDJ Open. 2021 Jun 25;7(1):23. doi: 10.1038/s41405-021-00080-7. PMID: 34172718; PMCID: PMC8233401. ↩︎

  2. Lamont T, Innes N. Study suggests dentine bonding agents provided better relief from dentine hypersensitivity than a desensitising toothpaste. Evid Based Dent. 2013 Dec;14(4):105-6. doi: 10.1038/sj.ebd.6400965. PMID: 24357819. ↩︎

  3. Antezack A, Ohanessian R, Sadowski C, Faure-Brac M, Brincat A, Etchecopar-Etchart D, Monnet-Corti V. Effectiveness of surgical root coverage on dentin hypersensitivity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Periodontol. 2022 Aug;49(8):840-851. doi: 10.1111/jcpe.13664. Epub 2022 Jun 5. PMID: 35634650. ↩︎

  4. Giedrys-Leeper E. Night guards and occlusal splints. Dent Update. 1990 Oct;17(8):325-9. PMID: 2097232. ↩︎