Sensitive Teeth


Sensitive Teeth
Why Are My Teeth Sensitive?

Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints among dental patients. At least 40 million adults in the United States suffer at some time from sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity can be reduced by using a desensitizing toothpaste, applying sealants and other desensitizing and filling materials, including fluoride, by your dentist. 

Abrasive toothpastes, tartar-control toothpastes and some whitening toothpastes can increase sensitivity, particularly to cold temperatures.  Avoid brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush.   

Heavy ingestion of sodas, fruit juices and/or sports drinks can increase tooth sensitivity.


From the Academy of General Dentistry

The more common causes of tooth sensitivity:

  • Gum recession:  Exposes a portion of the root of your tooth.  The root surface has no protective enamel covering and tends to be sensitive to touch and to cold and cold air.  Switching to a Sensitivity Toothpaste can help.  In some situations a Bonding Procedure may be indicated to protect these areas, and, in other situations gum surgery may be necessary to correct the recession.
  • Acid Erosion:  Soda (including diet soda), fruit juices, sports drinks, wine, vinegar and stomach acid can cause tooth erosion.  Rinse with clear water after acid exposure.   Do not brush immediately after acid exposure or vomiting.
  • Teeth clenching and grinding:  Most of this happens at night while you are asleep.  You may not be aware that you are grinding or clenching.  A night-guard custom fit appliance can act as a shock absorber and to minimize tooth wear during the night.
  • Dry mouth:  A side effect of many medications and of mouth breathing.  Saliva substitutes such as Biotene and Oasis are available over the counter and can be of help.

Other causes of tooth sensitivity are tooth decay, tooth cracks and fractures, broken fillings and  infection .  Any persistent sensitivity should be evaluated promptly by your dentist.



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