Sensitive Teeth: Cause And Treatment

Last updated on March 14th, 2023

Many people suffer from sensitive teeth, also known as dentin hypersensitivity. The problem becomes more intense when you eat or drink something hot or cold. Even though a cavity can make you feel similar pain and discomfort, teeth sensitivity is much easier to overcome.

It can be a chronic or temporary problem caused by worn tooth enamel or receding gums, and it can affect one tooth or several teeth. Since there are several considerations around the issue, patients might have a hard time figuring out the causes or potential treatments for sensitive teeth.

Young woman suffering from tootache tooth sensitivity

In this post, we are going to shed light on the causes and treatments available for sensitive teeth. However, we can only provide you with the best of our knowledge and experience, but it should be your dentist who will make the final decision in your case.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth? 

The problem of sensitive teeth can be extremely painful at times but being aware of the causes of tooth sensitivity can help you find a solution. There are a number of possible causes that can lead to sensitive teeth.  

Tooth Decay (Cavities): 

One of the most common causes of sensitive teeth is tooth decay. It is a serious problem, but fortunately, it is easy to detect.

Fractured Teeth:

Another easy to observe problem is the fractures in a tooth. Even a very little fracture can lead to sensitivity and a great amount of pain.

Worn Fillings:

Worn fillings mean that your fillings cannot serve to protect your teeth against  extrinsic factors anymore, which triggers teeth sensitivity to cold or hot drinks.

What causes sensitive teeth

Gum Disease:

Sensitivity can be triggered by sore or inflamed gums, too. When there is  gum disease, the surface of a tooths’ root becomes vulnerable to damage and  in most cases you will feel sensitivity.

Worn Tooth Enamel:

When you feel discomfort while eating cold, hot, or sweet foods it can be due to your eroding enamel. The pain gets worse  as you lose more of the enamel layer.

Exposed Tooth Root:

While some incidences of  exposed roots of teeth are the result of gum disease, you can still experience receding gums due to other factors such as the natural aging process or a genetic predisposition. Depending on the number and portion of the exposed teeth will determine the intensity of the sensitivity. 

Speaking of the source of sensitive teeth, it should be noted that there are some habits that might cause sensitivity such as:

They  can either start or aggravate the problem of teeth sensitivity.

When Do You Normally Have Teeth Sensitivity?

Here are some of the most common activities that end up leading to teeth sensitivity. Though they may not necessarily be teeth sensitivity reasons, you can still feel uncomfortable doing one of the things in the list below. However, there’s no need to worry about this type of sensitivity as they are anticipated and temporary in most cases.

Sensitive teeth sweets

Teeth Sensitivity After Cleaning

Some patients that are having a deep dental cleaning may experience sensitivity afterwards. Since the tartar buildup, dental plaque, and the toothpaste deposited in the dentin tubules over the years are removed  from the teeth, the nerve of the tooth suddenly starts to receive the signals. This sudden influx of signals causes temporary sensitivity.

Teeth Sensitivity After A Crown

Sensitivity after getting a dental crown is a very common problem. You don’t need to worry about it since the pain and discomfort will decrease as your jawbone adjusts to the crown. However, you can have less discomfort by avoiding sweets, hot or cold drinks, and hard foods until the adjustment is completed. 

Teeth Sensitivity After Filling

Many patients get dental fillings as it is a practical and affordable way to restore the tooth and make it as functional as it originally was. Alas, it is a very common issue that patients have sensitivity, to varying degrees, after getting a filling treatment. However normal it is, you can still alleviate the pain simply by avoiding cold or hot drinks.

Teeth Sensitivity After Permanent Retainer Removed

Permanent retainers are used to keep teeth in the desired position to ensure they don’t go back to the initial position. Due to the wearing down of the permanent retainers you might need to get them removed and new ones put in. Since there is a sudden change in pressure, you might have  sensitivity or discomfort at first, and this is normal. However, this issue should go away when you get your new retainers. If you still feel discomfort even after the placement of the retainers, you should see your dentist.

When Do You Normally Have Teeth Sensitivity?

Teeth Sensitivity After Pregnancy

The connection between teeth sensitivity and pregnancy is common. Swollen and even bleeding gums are common during pregnancy because of the hormonal shift in the body. In fact, it can continue after the pregnancy as the mother breastfeeds the baby. At this point, taking care of dental hygiene and taking prenatal supplements are of great importance. Also, using baking soda or applying  natural oils like coconut, or peppermint  might help  mothers ease the discomfort while brushing their teeth.

Teeth Sensitivity After Whitening

Teeth whitening is an effective and affordable way to get rid of stains to achieve  a better smile. Unfortunately, teeth sensitivity after whitening is a common problem. Although the pain is only temporary, you can minimize the discomfort by using special kinds of toothpaste that can block  pain signals before it reaches your teeth’s nerves.

As you can see, the sensitivity issues mentioned here are mostly temporary or easy to deal with. However, if you have prolonged discomfort or severe pain due to the sensitivity, you are strongly advised to see your dentist.

What To Do For The Treatment Of Sensitive Teeth?

You should take care of persistent and severe sensitivity because it could be serious. By simply visiting your dentist and discussing the issues you can, in many cases,  rid yourself of these problems as they offer effective and concise treatments. Here are some professional treatments you can get from a dentist or a clinic.

Unhappy girl issuffering from teeth sensivitiy


Dentists can protect your sensitive teeth with fluoride. Fluoride reduces the pain by strengthening the tooth enamel. If a further application of fluoride is needed, your dentist can prescribe it so that you can apply it at home yourself.


If the cause of the problem is exposed roots, bonding can be applied to the area to relieve the pain. Bonding resin is an effective way to protect the sensitive exposed roots of your teeth. Your dentist can decide whether you need this treatment depending on the severity and type of sensitivity.

Surgical Gum Graft

Gum grafting is a relatively advanced treatment. If you have lost a significant amount of gum tissue it could lead to further problems including teeth sensitivity. Therefore, you may need to get gum grafting surgery. In this treatment your missing gum is filled in using gum tissue from elsewhere. Since your teeth roots are better protected  you have less or no sensitivity.

Root Canal

The root canal is a drastic solution for a teeth sensitivity treatment. If you are suffering from persistent teeth sensitivity, and other simpler treatments don’t work for you then your dentist might consider this treatment. The soft core of the tooth is removed in this procedure, and the sensitivity is eliminated.

What Are Some Teeth Sensitivity Home Remedies?

Regular appointments with a dentist and getting professional treatment is always of great importance. Even so, you can still relieve the pain caused by tooth sensitivity through these home remedies:

  • Capsaicin
  • Desensitizing toothpaste
  • Saltwater rinse
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Honey and warm water
  • Vanilla extract
  • Turmeric
  • Green Tea
What Are Some Teeth Sensitivity Home Remedies

FAQs About Sensitive Tooth Sensitivity

Here are some of the most sought-after questions and answers about teeth sensitivity compiled for you.

Are Sensitive Teeth A Pregnancy Symptom?

Teeth sensitivity in pregnancy is a common issue. Moreover, along with some other changes, sensitive teeth are one of the subtle signs observed in early pregnancy, which might tell you a baby is on board. Whether you will still have sensitive teeth at the end of pregnancy depends on breastfeeding. As stated above, breastfeeding can be a factor in sensitive teeth.

How To Treat Cold Sensitive Teeth?

Nerve fibers in the tooth structure are sensitive to cold, and thus it is more likely to have a tooth sensitive to cold. Also, the cold air outside and hot drinks inside the mouth trigger sudden expansion and contraction of the front teeth. The adjustment gets harder as the range of temperatures increases, and it ends up with pain and discomfort.

The treatment of tooth sensitivity in winter is not much different than general sensitivity. But additionally, you can try breathing through the nose rather than your mouth in order not to make sudden changes in the temperature in your mouth. 

How To Whiten Sensitive Teeth?

It is still possible to whiten your sensitive teeth. There are whitening strips for sensitive teeth. They are good products for the job. 

Are Sensitive Teeth Genetic?

Yes, genetics is a factor in sensitive teeth. Cases like dentinogenesis imperfections or enamel hypoplasia make your teeth more prone to sensitivity.

Are Sensitive Teeth A Symptom Of Covid? 

The studies show no direct connection between teeth sensitivity and covid.

I Have Pain Only When I’m Biting Down. Does It Mean Sensitivity?

Not necessarily. In fact, the possibility that you have a sinus infection is higher.

Can Diet Cause Sensitive Teeth? 

It depends on the diet you are having. For example, there can be an increase in the cases of sensitive teeth on the keto diet. The Keto diet is also responsible for bad breath due to the activation fatty acids in the body.

If you’re concerned about tooth sensitivity or tooth pain, contact Maltepe Dental Clinic to ensure you receive tailored advice and find the right treatment for you.

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