Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive Teeth

Having sensitive teeth can mean anything from getting a mild twinge to having severe discomfort lasting for several hours. You are more likely to feel the sensitivity when drinking or eating something cold, from cold air catching your teeth, and sometimes with hot foods or drinks. Some people have sensitivity when they have sweet or acidic food and drinks.

Tooth is made up of an outer layer called enamel and an inner layer called dentine. The hard outer enamel protects the dentine which is softer and more sensitive to external stimuli such as hot and cold, and is more prone to wear.

The following dental issues can cause sensitive teeth:

  • Worn tooth enamel from using a hard toothbrush and using a hard grip while brushing aggressively.
  • Tooth erosion due to highly acidic foods and beverages.
  • Tooth decay, worn leaky fillings and broken teeth that expose the dentin of your tooth.
  • Gum recession that leaves your root surface exposed.
  • Grinding your teeth at night.
  • Post dental treatment sensitivity – common, but temporary, especially with procedures such as crowns, fillings and tooth bleaching.

The cause of sensitive teeth needs to be determined first. Treatment could be as simple as using a desensitising toothpaste (such as Sensodyne), or it may involve protection of an exposed dentine or nerve ending using fillings or crowns. However, if your discomfort comes from gum loss exposing root surfaces, we may suggest a gum graft to protect the root surface and support of your tooth.

If the underlying problem isn’t clearly identified and addressed, it is highly likely sensitivity will progressively get worse. Additionally, depending on the source of your sensitivity, irreversible tooth damage may be caused resulting in eventual tooth loss.


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