Sensitive Teeth Dental Image - Dr. Cowdin

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

In healthy teeth, porous tissue called dentin is protected by your gums and the hard enamel shell of your teeth. When this protection is lost, microscopic holes in the dentin—called tubules—allow heat, cold and other irritants to be transmitted back to the tooth nerve, thereby triggering pain.

Dentin can become exposed by:

  • Receding gums caused by improper brushing or gum disease
  • Fractured or chipped teeth
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth

Depending on the diagnosis, your dentist may recommend one or more of the following treatments to relieve the symptoms of sensitive teeth:

  • A soft-bristle toothbrush
  • A special toothpaste for sensitive teeth that can either block access to the nerve or make the nerve itself less sensitive
  • A fluoride rinse or gel for sensitive teeth

A sensitivity protection toothpaste usually takes several weeks to ease pain. Follow your dentist’s instructions on the regular use of sensitivity protection products.