Why Are My Teeth So Sensitive?


Most people can appreciate a friend who is kind and emotionally sensitive, but your teeth need to be tough to be healthy. If you feel pain in your teeth after consuming hot or cold drinks or foods, or when cold air hits your mouth, it’s important to have your dentist determine the cause of your sensitive teeth.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Not every case of sensitive teeth is serious. There are numerous causes for the condition. It’s important to receive a diagnosis from your dentist so they can direct your course of treatment. Causes of sensitive teeth include:

  • Worn enamel that exposes the dentin layer of your tooth
  • Gum disease, which can erode both your gums and enamel that protects your tooth roots
  • Grinding your teeth, which can also erode the tooth’s protective enamel layer
  • Excessive or aggressive tooth brushing, especially with whitening toothpaste
  • Mouthwash containing alcohol
  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Fillings that have become decayed around the edges, letting in bacterial plaque

Additionally, you may experience sensitive teeth immediately after dental procedures, such as a root canal or placement of a crown. If the sensitivity doesn’t subside after a short time, contact your dentist.

What Can Be Done To Reduce Tooth Sensitivity?

If your sensitivity is caused by an underlying condition (like a cracked tooth or gum disease), your dentist will most likely focus on treatment of that condition to see if it reduces your discomfort. Some other options that are aimed at diminishing the sensitivity itself include:

  • Using a desensitizing toothpaste
  • In-office applications of fluoride gel or other stronger desensitizing agents
  • Gum grafts to protect your tooth roots if your gums have receded
  • Replacing a filling that may have been damaged
  • Referral to an endodontist if severe tooth sensitivity persists

“If you have sensitive teeth, that’s a signal to see your dentist – it’s not normal for your teeth to hurt,” says Dr. Carol Ford. “Our practice can find the cause of your tooth sensitivity and help you get back to a pain-free smile.”


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