If you occasionally experience a sudden flash of pain or a mild
tingly feeling when you bite into sweet or sour foods, or drink hot or cold beverages, you
may have sensitive teeth.
Pain from sensitive teeth is not always constant; it can come and go. Constant pain
could be a sign of a more serious problem. It is still important, however, to discuss your
symptoms with your dentist to determine the cause and proper treatment.
What causes Sensitive Teeth?
In healthy teeth, porous tissue called dentin is protected by your gums and your
teeth's hard enamel shell. Microscopic holes in the dentin, called tubules, connect
back to the nerve triggering pain when irritated by certain foods and beverages. Dentin
can be 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 fluoride varnish, such as Duraphat, that can be applied by a dental professional
- A fluoride rinse or gel for sensitive teeth, prescribed by your dentist, for home use
- A soft-bristle or extra soft-bristle toothbrush to protect gums.
- A special toothpaste for sensitive teeth that can either block access to the nerve or
insulate the nerve itself. A sensitivity toothpaste usually eases pain in about two to