Do you have or do you know someone who has sensitive teeth? If your answer is yes, you will have a true appreciation for the content of this web page.

What is Tooth Sensitivity

tooth sensitivityIt can be defined as a painful reaction in one or more teeth triggered by hot, cold, sweet or sour foods and drinks. sometimes even air or rinsing with tap water during winter can trigger this.This pain can be sharp, sudden and shoot deep into the nerve endings of your teeth.

tooth decay causing sensitivityApart from a cavity or a missing filling, the most common cause of tooth sensitivity is exposed dentin (inner surface of tooth) on the roots of your teeth. Normally, the dentin (the second, more sensitive layer of the tooth) is surrounded and protected by your enamel, cementum (special root covering) and gums. The cause or mechanism of dental sensitivity is still not well understood. It is believed that the little tubes that connect the dentin to the nerve or pulp serve as sensory conductors. That sensation may be one of pain.OUCH!!!

Causes of exposed root surfaces which may result in dental sensitivity:

Brushing too hard – Over a period of time, brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush may wear away outer layer of tooth enamel or cementum and cause the dentin to be exposed.

Recession of the gums – Movement of gums away from the tooth due to gum disease will expose the root surface.

gum2Gum disease – Inflamed and sore gum tissue may also cause sensitivity due to the loss of supporting ligaments which exposes root surface.



Other causes of sensitive teeth:

Cracked Teeth – Chipped or broken teeth may fill up with bacteria from plaque and enter the pulp causing an inflammatory reaction.

Grinding your Teeth – Grinding or clenching your teeth may wear down the enamel and expose underlying dentin.

Plaque- The presence of plaque on the root surfaces can cause sensitivity.

What to do at home?
  • Maintain good oral hygiene – Clean all parts of your teeth and mouth thoroughly.
  • Use a soft bristled toothbrush- use medium or soft bristles brush and don’t apply too much pressure while brushing .also use correct strokes while brushing ( vertically and not horizontally)
  • Use desensitizing toothpaste – these products should be used only if recommended by dentist, and that to for short period ( these are medicated tooth paste and not for regular use)
  • Consider what you eat- If you frequently eat foods high in acids, such as citrus fruits (example: sucking on lemons, or drinking too many aerated drinks ), they can gradually dissolve the enamel over time, leading to dentin exposure. The citric acids may aggravate the hypersensitivity and initiate a painful reaction.


Professional Care.

Ask us, about professional products that may be used to help reduce sensitivity. Some of the most common treatments are:

  1. white fillings to cover exposed root surfaces
  2. fluoride varnish applied to the exposed root surface
  3. dentin sealer applied to the exposed root surface


You don’t have to suffer with sensitivity!!

When to see a doctor about tooth sensitivity.

While you can often self-treat generalized tooth sensitivity, see your dentist if:

  1. Your teeth are persistently sensitive to pressure.
  2. A single tooth is persistently sensitive, which could indicate that its infected or dying.
  3. Sensitivity doesn’t decrease after 2-3 weeks of using desensitizing toothpaste.
  4. You have dental pain that starts automatically or on chewing hard food.
  5. You have any obvious decay.

FAQ's About Teeth Sensitivity

What is tooth sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity is tooth pain due to the wearing away of gum tissue and also the tooth protecting enamel. As we age, our gums start to recede, exposing the root of the tooth. This can make teeth more sensitive because the root is not covered by enamel therefore exposing the tooth’s nerves. As your teeth come in contact with hot and cold food or drinks you feel pain.

Who suffers from sensitive teeth?

Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints we hear from our patients today. In fact one out of every five adults claims to suffer from pain caused by sensitive teeth. Sensitive teeth can start hurting as early as in your 20’s. The teeth most commonly affected are “canines” and “premolars”.

How do I know if I have sensitive teeth?

If you have pain in your teeth after drinking or eating hot or cold food and drinks, you have experienced tooth sensitivity.

Why can’t you just avoid sensitive teeth?

Tooth sensitivity can cause improper brushing which could lead to a progression of problems including:

  • plaque buildup
  • gingivitis
  • periodontal disease
  • tooth loss


What are some stimuli that can trigger pain from sensitive teeth?

The following list of stimuli can lead to pain from sensitive teeth:

  • Cold foods or beverages
  • Decay in tooth
  • Contact with exposed dentin when brushing for instance
  • Cosmetic whitening / bleaching
  • Overly aggressive brushing causing tooth abrasion
  • Receding gums
  • Plaque and bacteria
  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontal disease
  • Teeth clenching or grinding
  • Dry mouth
  • Cracked or chipped teeth
Dr. Vora's Dental Care We Treat We Care, Since 1975

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