Teeth are naturally sensitive to temperature, but if your teeth hurt when you eat or drink something hot or cold, or sweet or sour, you might have especially sensitive teeth.
Teeth are usually more sensitive when they have less protective enamel, but there can be other reasons. Your dentist will aim to find the cause of this sensitivity so they can recommend a suitable treatment. This may involve rebuilding worn teeth or treating a problem such as gum disease or a root canal infection.
What causes tooth sensitivity?
All teeth have nerves in the centre that make them slightly sensitive to pressure and temperature, but if any of your teeth suddenly become more sensitive, or it happens over time, this is usually a sign of a problem.
Teeth usually become more sensitive when the enamel is worn down. This can happen due to:
- Brushing your teeth too roughly or using a firm toothbrush
- Erosion from acids in food and drink or stomach acids
- Excessive grinding or clenching of teeth (bruxism)
Other reasons for tooth sensitivity may include:
- An infection of the dental pulp, requiring root canal treatment
- A damaged filling or crown exposing a tooth
- Receding gums exposing tooth roots
What are the treatments for sensitive teeth?
Treatments for sensitive teeth depend on the cause and on the condition of your teeth. Your dentist may recommend:
- Using a desensitising toothpaste or gel
- Repairing worn or damaged teeth with dental bonding
- Placing a filling or crown over a weak or sensitive tooth
- Treatments for gum disease or gum recession, such as a gum graft
- Treatments for bruxism, such as a dental splint to prevent teeth grinding at night
- Root canal therapy to treat an infection of the dental pulp
How can I prevent sensitive teeth?
Taking good care of your teeth every day can help to reduce loss of enamel and can lower your risk for dental problems that cause sensitivity. This includes:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day using a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. Take care not to brush too roughly, as this can damage the enamel.
- Avoiding food and drink with high amounts of sugar and acids that wear down enamel.
- Eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals that help rebuild teeth and protect oral health.
- Drinking plenty of water to rinse away bacteria.
- Visiting a dentist once or twice a year for a check-up and preventive care.
Talk to a dentist in Brisbane
If you're concerned about sensitive teeth and want to talk to a professional about it, contact your nearest Swish Dental clinic in Brisbane to book a consultation with our experienced dentists.