Sensitive teeth

What does this mean?

Sensitive teeth react to cold, hot, acidic, or sweet food and drink with a short sharp stab of pain, which can feel like it penetrates deep into the roots of the teeth. If the pain persists for a long time, this will usually indicate an irritated nerve, and there may be some other cause. Dental treatments, such as bleaching, white fillings and dental cleaning, can also cause sensitive teeth, at least temporarily.


Treatment for sensitive teeth

The treatment of sensitive teeth involves things that you can do yourself and therapies your dentist can perform. Possibly the best known remedies are the special toothpastes for sensitive teeth, which have additives that seal the dentinal tubules, or reduce the nerve stimulation in these narrow channels.

Tips for limiting dental erosion yourself:

  • critically examine your dietary pattern and try to avoid, or at least cut own on, acidic (erosive) foodstuffs;
  • neutralize acid by rinsing your mouth with water or milk;
  • wait an hour after eating or drinking before brushing your teeth; if this is a problem in the morning, then brush your teeth before breakfast;
  • use a soft toothbrush and do not brush too hard;
  • use toothpaste for sensitive teeth.


Therapies performed by the dentist

The dentist can inspect your teeth and determine why the dentine is becoming exposed, and advise you on how to avoid or reduce further wear. There are also agents for sealing the dentinal tubules, which the dentist can apply to the sensitive tooth necks. A commonly used class of agents is fluoride varnish.

Where much tissue loss has occurred and with sensitive teeth, it is sometimes possible and necessary to have further treatment, such as fillings, root canal therapy and, in rare cases, tooth extraction.