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
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
In healthy teeth, porous tissue called dentin
is protected by your gums and your teeth's hard enamel shell.
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 triggering pain. 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 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, recommended by your dentist.
A sensitivity protection toothpaste
usually takes several weeks to ease pain. Follow the
instructions of your dental professional on the regular use of
sensitivity protection toothpaste to keep pain from returning.