Lancaster Dental

Healthy Smiles for the Whole Family

Everything You Need to Know About Tooth Sensitivity

What is Tooth Sensitivity? 

If biting into ice cream, taking a sip of an icy drink, or slurping a mouthful of hot soup gives you a short, sharp, and painful feeling, you probably suffer from tooth sensitivity.

Tooth sensitivity happens when the underlying layer of your teeth (the dentin) becomes uncovered due to receding gum tissue (the protective layer covering the tooth roots). Tooth sensitivity is medically known as Dentin Hypersensitivity.

When your teeth are sensitive, they react strongly to hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks, cold air, and even brushing your teeth.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity can be caused by a variety of factors such as:

Your toothbrush type

Using a hard-bristled toothbrush or brushing too hard can wear down tooth enamel. Brushing too hard can also cause gum recession, exposing the root of your tooth and making it sensitive.

Teeth Whitening

If you have sensitive teeth, you should not use teeth-whitening products more frequently than the manufacturer recommends. Consider using only one whitening product and other oral care products for sensitive teeth. Or use products that are designed for sensitive teeth.

-Grinding your teeth

If you grind or clench your teeth frequently (at night or during the day), the enamel will slowly wear down, leaving the dentin less protected.

-Eating an acidic and high-sugar diet

Acidic and sugary foods and drinks, like soda, coffee, tomato sauce, candy, refined carbohydrates, and citrus fruits, can wear away tooth enamel and make the dentin more vulnerable.

-Tooth Decay/ Cracked Teeth

A cavity in a tooth exposes the nerves in the center of the tooth. When you have a chipped or broken tooth, bacteria can enter through the crack into the dentin and cause pain or sensitivity.

-Gum Disease

Suppose you have gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. In that case, you may develop sensitive teeth because the inflamed tissue in your gums is not protecting the roots of your teeth.

-Recent dental procedures

Several dental procedures, including teeth cleaning, crown placement, root planing, or tooth restoration, can also cause temporary sensitivity for up to six weeks.

What are the Symptoms of Sensitive Teeth?

Sensitive teeth may come with other symptoms that depend on the underlying disease, disorder, or condition causing them. Most of the time, symptoms manifest as sudden, sharp, and sometimes deep pain in a tooth that goes away after a few minutes. 

Also, sensitive teeth may accompany other mouth symptoms, including bad breath, taste changes, pus or discharge, loss of gums, and red and swollen gums.

How is Tooth Sensitivity Treated?

Once your dentist has found the problem, there are a few things he can suggest to ease your pain, such as:

-Toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

-Fluoride gel or sealants.

-Fillings that cover exposed roots.

-A mouthguard to protect teeth if you grind.

-Desensitizing pastes (not used with a toothbrush) you can get from your dentist.

Your dentist may recommend a root canal if your case is serious.

Daily Care for Sensitive Teeth

Your tooth enamel cannot be repaired once it is worn away, which leaves dentin exposed and lead to sensitivity. Therefore, you should seek treatment as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee immediate relief from tooth sensitivity pain.


Consulting your dentist is the first step in treating tooth sensitivity, regardless of its cause. They will help you determine what’s causing your sensitivity and develop a treatment plan that works best for you.