Common causes and solutions for sensitive teeth

Common causes and solutions for sensitive teeth

Having sensitive teeth can be a real nuisance and it can make eating and drinking difficult. The pain that we feel because of sensitive teeth is mostly sharp, sudden and temporary. We experience this pain whenever our teeth are being exposed to too hot or too cold food or beverages, sweet or acidic foods. If you’re one of those who suffer from sensitive teeth, read on to find out more about the potential causes and solutions to this problem.

What are the most common causes for sensitive teeth?

Sensitive teeth can happen to anyone and no one is resistant to it. Your teeth might become sensitive when the tooth enamel erodes and exposes tooth roots. There are no definitive reasons why someone’s teeth are sensitive and there can be several causes.

Teeth whitening

In order to remove surface stains or discoloration, many people turn to teeth whitening. However, not many people know that actually teeth whitening can be a cause for tooth sensitivity. Peroxide, which is one of the base components of teeth whitening solutions can irritate the tooth nerve.

Tooth brushing

Tooth enamel can also be eroded if you brush your teeth too hard or you use a toothbrush that has hard bristles. Once the enamel wears off enough, the dentin of your teeth becomes exposed. Brushing too hard can also cause your gums to bleed, recess and expose the root of your teeth. This is why most dentists recommend that you use a tooth brush with soft bristles and that you don’t brush too hard.

Tooth demineralization

It’s not only physical scrubbing or stress that can weaken your teeth’s enamel. If the mineral content in the tooth decreases, demineralization occurs. The tooth enamel is not a living tissue so it cannot regenerate. But it can be under constant attack from sugary and acidic drinks which are the main causes of demineralization. So it’s best to avoid these foods/drinks as much as possible.

Teeth grinding

If you wake up in the morning with a sore jaw or you catch yourself grinding your teeth in the middle of the day, you can quickly wear down your tooth enamel like that. Not only does teeth grinding weaken the enamel, but it can also cause cracks or chips on your teeth. Teeth grinding can make y our teeth susceptible to both sensitivity and decay.

Poor diet

Dentist often recommend that for healthy teeth we need to have a well-balanced diet, and for good reason. Consuming enough dairy products which are rich in calcium and our intake of vitamin D can do wonders for our oral health and strength of our teeth. On the other hand, consuming acidic and sweet drinks and foods can do just the opposite.

Solutions for sensitive teeth

Now that we have covered what are the main causes of sensitive teeth, let’s focus on the dental procedures that can protect them. You may have even heard about a few of these from you dentist, especially if you’re suffering from sensitive teeth.

Mouth Guard – Good for both sensitive teeth and jaw pain

IF you often grind your teeth during the night, the safest bet is to get a mouth guard. There are several ways you can get a mouth guard and we’ve covered them here. You can go and buy a universal one (they come in different shapes, sizes and from different materials), you can make your own (if you buy a mouth guard that you mold at home) or you can let your dentist do it for you. Whichever option you go with, a mouth guard will not only prevent you from grinding your teeth, but it will also relieve the jaw pain and headache that you had in the mornings.

Fluoride varnish

Dentists often use fluoride varnish (a really concentrated type of fluoride) to help reduce the tooth sensitivity and ease the discomfort. This can also strengthen your enamel and dentin.

Dental sealants

This is also one of the most recommended solutions for sensitive teeth. Dental sealants are basically thin resin coatings that your dentist can pain onto your teeth in order to protect them for all the foods and beverages that make your teeth sensitive. Keep in mind though that dental sealants are only a temporary solutions and that they wear off in time and have to be reapplied.

Bonding agent

Your teeth might become sensitive because part of your roots is exposed. This is where the dentist will recommend bonding agents that should cover the tooth root. The agent is applied to the entire exposed root and blocks the exposure.

Root canal – The last resort for sensitive teeth

If none of the above recommended options work, as the final resort, your dentist might suggest that you do a root canal. During this procedure, the dentist removes the pulp or soft nerve tissue inside your tooth so you will no longer feel pain or discomfort.

Tooth sensitivity is a prevalent problem and many people are struggling with it. We hope that these tips help you with your sensitive teeth and in case you need additional advice, make sure to contact us.


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Dr. Nguyen
Dr. Nguyen

Dr. Nguyen is committed to providing high-quality dentistry using state-of-the-art equipment to help you achieve improved oral health and the beautiful smile you deserve.

Dr. Nguyen has served on the Virginia Board of Dentistry and has many achievements such as: Invisalign Premier and Teen Provider, Pre-Fellow with Academy of General Dentistry, Graduate of Aesthetic Continuum, Engel Institute for Dental Implant Training, WaveOne Endodontic Training, HD President’s Club.

Dr. Nguyen enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters, staying active in the gym, and trying out new restaurants.  When he isn’t at work, you can find him playing basketball, tennis, football, or hiking.

“I want to make you feel right at home, exceed your expectations, and provide an amazing experience!”