Sensitive Teeth

What to Do About Sensitive Teeth?

If you always avoid hot or cold food and drinks because they cause tooth pain, you may have to visit your dentist because you may be dealing with sensitive teeth.  Sometimes, you may feel the pain when you expose your teeth to sweet and sour food or cold air.

To get the proper treatment for tooth pain, it is essential to know the cause of the sensitivity.

Caring for your tooth enamel

The enamel is the hard, protective teeth layer that helps protect the teeth from temperature change and damage. When the enamel wears off, it exposes the nerve endings, which causes pain. If you experience tooth sensitivity, you may be dealing with worn-out enamel.

To prevent further tooth damage, the following can help;

  • Do not brush too hard 

    Brushing your teeth hard may remove plaque on your teeth, but this may wear off your enamel. Brushing side-to-side at your gum line can make your enamel wear off faster. While brushing, ensure that you keep your soft-bristled toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum.

  • Avoid acidic drinks and foods 

    Foods and drinks with a high amount of sugar, including sticky candy and soda, can damage the enamel by producing acid that attacks the enamel. Instead of these foods and drinks, take plain yoghurt, cheese, milk, fibre-rich vegetables and fruits.These foods can moisten your mouth and help fight off bacteria and acid production. Saliva production from consuming these foods can help wash off acid and bacteria in your mouth.

    You can take black or green tea or chew sugar-free gum. If you take acidic food or drink, wait for about an hour for remineralisation before brushing your teeth.

  • Unclench your teeth 

    Grinding or clenching the teeth wears off the enamel. In some cases, stress causes teeth clenching, so addressing your stress issues can help stop the problem. If managing stress does not solve the problem, your dentist may recommend a mouth guard or splint.If your teeth clenching is severe, you may need to get dental work done to change your teeth position or get a muscle relaxant.

  • Stop teeth whitening 

    Sometimes, getting your teeth whitened to have a bright and beautiful smile may cause pain. However, teeth sensitivity resulting from bleaching the teeth occurs for only a short while. You can talk to your dentist if your teeth whitening treatment causes discomfort.

Causes of teeth sensitivity

In some cases, teeth sensitivity occurs due to the following issues;

  • Naturally shrinking gums 

    If you are over 40 years, your gums may start showing signs of wear and tear by pulling away from your teeth or showing your tooth roots. The tooth roots are not protected by enamel, so they are more sensitive than the rest of your teeth.If you notice receding gums, consult your dentist as it may be a sign of other dental issues like gum disease. In severe cases, the dentist may recommend a gum graft which involves removing tissues from other parts to cover the exposed area.

  • Gum disease 

    The build-up of plaque and tartar on your teeth can pull back the gums. In some cases, gum disease will occur. Gum disease can destroy the bone structure supporting the teeth.Most smokers experience gum disease, so it may be best to quit smoking. To treat gum disease and prevent teeth sensitivity, the dentist may carry out deep cleaning of your teeth, a procedure called scaling or planing.

    In scaling, the dentist will scrape plaque and tartar below your gum line. In some cases, the dentist may recommend surgery or medication.

  • Cracked filling or tooth 

    When your tooth or filling gets cracked, the crack may affect your tooth root, resulting in pain from cold foods or drinks. Depending on the extent of the crack on your tooth, your dentist will pull out the tooth or fill the cracked part.


When your dentist identifies the cause of sensitivity, they may offer any of the following to ease the pain;

  • Fluoride gel
  • Sealants
  • Anti-sensitivity toothpaste
  • Mouthguard if you grind your teeth
  • Desensitising pastes to be used without a toothbrush
  • Filling to cover exposed tooth root

If your sensitivity is severe, the dentist may recommend a root canal. If you experience tooth pain, ensure you continue your dental care routine. Avoiding dental care will only make the pain worse.

Your dental care routine should include flossing and brushing your teeth twice daily to maintain your teeth and prevent pain. Visiting your dentist often, at least every six months, can help maintain your oral health and avoid sensitivity.

For professional dental care, visit St Albans Dental Clinic. You can also call us on 01727 266265 to schedule an appointment with our dentist if you experience teeth sensitivity.

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