7 Dental Care Tips How To Relieve Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity, often described as a short, sharp pain, is a common dental complaint in Australia and globally. It typically occurs when the protective layers of a tooth, such as enamel or cementum, are worn away, exposing the dentine which contains tiny tubules leading to the nerve of the tooth. When the dentine is exposed to certain stimuli—like hot, cold, sweet foods and drinks, or even a touch—pain can be triggered. The pain usually subsides once the stimulus is removed. Tooth sensitivity can affect one tooth, multiple teeth, or all teeth in various degrees​1​​2​.

Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Several factors can contribute to tooth sensitivity, including:

  • Enamel Erosion: This can occur due to aggressive brushing, consumption of acidic foods and beverages, or teeth grinding.
  • Tooth Decay: Cavities expose the sensitive layers of teeth.
  • Gum Disease: Inflamed and receding gums can expose the tooth roots, leading to sensitivity.
  • Cracked or Chipped Teeth: Cracks can allow substances to penetrate and irritate the nerves.
  • Teeth Whitening Products: Some people are sensitive to the chemicals in whitening products.
  • Dental Procedures: Sensitivity is common after treatments like fillings or teeth whitening but usually is temporary​3​​2​.

Treatment and Management

The approach to managing tooth sensitivity generally depends on its cause:

  • Desensitising Toothpaste: These toothpastes contain compounds that either soothe the nerves or create a barrier over the sensitive dentine.
  • Fluoride Treatments: Applied by a dentist, these can strengthen enamel and reduce sensitivity.
  • Dental Restorations: Fillings or crowns to restore decayed or damaged teeth can alleviate sensitivity.
  • Gum Grafting: This may be recommended when gum recession is the cause.
  • Dental Bonding: Bonding material can cover exposed dentin, reducing sensitivity.
  • Management of Underlying Conditions: Treating conditions like gum disease or bruxism is also crucial​3​.

Prevention of Tooth Sensitivity

To prevent tooth sensitivity, maintaining good oral hygiene is key:

  • Regular Dental Check-Ups: These help monitor oral health and catch potential issues early.
  • Gentle Brushing: Using a soft-bristled brush and avoiding aggressive techniques.
  • Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth: These can block the ends of exposed dentin tubules.
  • Night Guards for Bruxism: To protect teeth from grinding-induced wear.
  • Limiting Acidic Foods and Drinks: Reducing exposure to substances that erode enamel​2​.

Professional Guidance

It’s essential to consult with a dentist if you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity. Dentists can accurately diagnose the cause and recommend appropriate treatments. They might suggest lifestyle adjustments, dental procedures, or home remedies depending on the severity and underlying cause of your sensitivity. Regular dental visits for check-ups and cleans are vital in managing and preventing the development of tooth sensitivity​1​​3​​2​.

In conclusion, while tooth sensitivity can be a bothersome condition, it is often manageable with the right approach and care. Australian Dental professionals, such as the Australian Dental Association, National Dental Care, and Beaches Dental Mona Vale, provide valuable insights and treatments that cater to those experiencing tooth sensitivity. Through proper oral hygiene practices, professional dental care, and appropriate lifestyle adjustments, individuals can significantly alleviate and prevent the discomfort associated with sensitive teeth.

At Dentists In Annerley, QLD, Australia, we pride ourselves on setting the highest standard of patient care, ensuring an experience that fuses comfort with unmatched dental health services. Our clinic acts as an oasis for advanced periodontal treatments, performed with precision and a delicate touch to guarantee the best oral health outcomes for our patients. Centrally located for Annerley residents and those from surrounding suburbs, we invite individuals from Woolloongabba, Greenslopes, Fairfield, Yeronga, Moorooka, Tarragindi, Holland Park, West End, Highgate Hill, Dutton Park, Coorparoo, Carina Heights, Mount Gravatt, East Brisbane, and Stones Corner to partake in exceptional dental care. Our dedication to oral health is solid, with a personalized approach to periodontal care that is aimed at enhancing both the resilience and aesthetics of our patients’ smiles.

In the bustling environment of Annerley and its nearby areas, Dentists In Annerley emerges as a haven of dental health and well-being. We address a broad range of dental needs, from routine examinations and cleanings to emergency dental treatments, all the while utilizing modern CEREC technology for immediate ceramic restorations. Our broad suite of services spans root canal therapies, wisdom tooth extractions, and the creation of tailored veneers, crowns, and implants, in addition to specializing in periodontics, pediatric dentistry, and orthodontic aligners. Our facility is equipped with contemporary X-ray machinery, ensuring an expedient and accurate diagnostic and treatment journey. We have meticulously designed every aspect of our practice to optimize the efficiency, thoroughness, and comfort of your visit. 

The guiding principle at Dentists In Annerley is the belief that exemplary dental care should be within reach for everyone. We are committed to offering a comprehensive variety of dental services that cater to the varied dental concerns of our patients. From preventive maintenance to the craftsmanship of cosmetic dentistry, and the detailed care required for complex dental treatments, our team at Dentists In Annerley is steadfast in their quest for dental excellence. This dedication is apparent in our gentle demeanor and the detailed attention we apply in each treatment, ensuring every patient leaves with a smile that is as radiant in appearance as it is in health.

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Frequently Ask Questions

  • Tooth sensitivity, or dentine hypersensitivity, is a condition where the teeth become painful due to exposure to certain stimuli such as hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods and drinks. It occurs when the tooth’s protective layers, enamel or cementum, are worn away, exposing the dentine which contains tiny tubules that lead directly to the nerve. The pain is typically sharp and short-lived, ceasing once the stimulus is removed​.
  • The causes of tooth sensitivity are multifaceted. It can result from enamel erosion due to acidic foods and drinks, receding gums exposing the cementum and consequently the dentine, tooth decay, teeth grinding or bruxism, and conditions affecting teeth during development like enamel hypoplasia. Sensitivity can also follow dental treatments such as cleanings, fillings, crowns, or teeth whitening, although this is usually temporary​.
  • Yes, tooth sensitivity can sometimes be a sign of underlying dental problems such as tooth decay or gum disease. If the sensitivity persists even after the removal of the stimulus, it could indicate tooth decay, and a dentist should evaluate it to prevent the condition from worsening​1​.
  • A dentist will diagnose tooth sensitivity by checking for visible dental issues like decay or damage to the teeth. They may use a dental instrument to touch each tooth to check for sensitivity and may take x-rays to see any problems below the gum line that could be contributing to the sensitivity​.
  • Yes, certain foods and drinks, especially those that are hot, cold, sweet, or acidic, can trigger tooth sensitivity. Acidic foods and beverages, such as citrus fruits and carbonated drinks, can erode enamel, contributing to sensitivity. However, due to a browsing error, I cannot provide a detailed list of these foods from an Australian resource at the moment.
  • Treatment options for tooth sensitivity include using desensitizing toothpaste, applying fluoride gels to strengthen enamel, dental restorations like fillings or crowns to repair damaged teeth, and in cases of gum recession, gum grafting. If tooth decay is present, it needs to be treated by a dentist to alleviate sensitivity​.
  • Desensitizing toothpastes are often recommended for sensitive teeth. They contain ingredients like potassium nitrate, arginine, and calcium carbonate, strontium chloride, stannous fluoride, and calcium sodium phosphosilicate, which work by either soothing the nerves or creating a barrier over the sensitive dentine​1​.
  • Yes, brushing too vigorously or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can wear away the enamel, leading to tooth sensitivity. It’s recommended to brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid damaging the enamel​1​.
  • Tooth sensitivity is a common side effect after certain dental procedures such as teeth cleanings, fillings, crowns, and teeth whitening. This sensitivity is typically temporary and should subside within a few days to a couple of weeks. However, if the sensitivity persists, it is important to revisit the dentist​1​.

Fluoride treatments can help with tooth sensitivity by strengthening the tooth enamel and making it more resistant to the acid attacks that cause sensitivity. Fluoride can also contribute to the remineralization of enamel, helping to protect and cover exposed dentine, thus reducing pain and sensitivity

  • Dental sealants can indirectly help with tooth sensitivity by preventing tooth decay, which is a common cause of sensitivity. They are a protective coating applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, covering the grooves and pits that are difficult to clean and are prone to developing decay. By sealing these areas, sealants can prevent decay and the subsequent sensitivity that might occur from cavities​1​.
  • Yes, a cracked tooth can lead to sensitivity. When a tooth cracks, it can cause a sharp pain upon biting and may also be sensitive to hot or cold temperatures. A cracked tooth can result from various factors, such as clenching or grinding teeth, biting on hard objects, or large fillings that weaken the tooth structure. Treatment for a cracked tooth depends on the severity and location of the crack, ranging from a simple filling to a crown or even root canal therapy if the nerve is affected​2​.
  • Tooth sensitivity can indeed be linked to gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. These diseases affect the gums and can lead to recession, which exposes the tooth roots that are not protected by enamel. Exposed roots can be more sensitive to stimuli, leading to discomfort. Addressing gum disease through professional dental care and good oral hygiene can help to manage and reduce sensitivity​3​.
  • Dental treatments for sensitive teeth include the use of desensitizing toothpastes, fluoride gels or varnishes, and restorations such as fillings to cover exposed dentine. In cases of tooth decay or damaged fillings, treating these issues can eliminate sensitivity. For more severe cases, a dentist might suggest a dental crown to protect the tooth or a gum graft for receded gums​4​.
  • As you age, your teeth may become more sensitive. This can be due to a lifetime of wear and tear that erodes enamel, as well as gum recession that exposes the sensitive roots of teeth. Older teeth are also less flexible and more prone to developing cracks, which can lead to sensitivity. Regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene can help manage sensitivity as you age.
  • Children can experience tooth sensitivity, often due to the same reasons as adults—cavities, enamel erosion, and temporary sensitivity following dental treatments. It’s important for children to maintain good oral hygiene and have regular dental check-ups to prevent and treat tooth sensitivity.
  • To prevent tooth sensitivity from worsening, maintain good oral hygiene, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gentle brushing techniques, avoid acidic and sugary foods and beverages, and use desensitizing toothpaste. Regular dental check-ups can also help in identifying and treating any potential problems before they lead to increased sensitivity​4​.

Stress can indirectly contribute to tooth sensitivity by leading to teeth grinding or clenching, which can wear down enamel and cause sensitivity. Managing stress and protecting your teeth with a mouthguard at night can help prevent this kind of sensitivity.

  • Tooth sensitivity can be temporary, especially when it is related to dental treatments such as fillings, crowns, or teeth whitening. This type of sensitivity usually resolves on its own within a few days to a few weeks. If it persists, it’s important to consult a dentist​4​.
  • Lifestyle changes to reduce tooth sensitivity include improving oral hygiene practices, avoiding teeth grinding, limiting intake of acidic and sugary foods and drinks, and stopping the use of tobacco products. Using a straw when drinking acidic beverages can also help by reducing contact with teeth, and rinsing with water after consuming such beverages can neutralize acids in the mouth​4​.
  • Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can indeed cause tooth sensitivity. It can lead to teeth becoming worn and may cause damage to the teeth and jaw joints. The act of grinding can wear down the enamel, expose dentine, and lead to sensitivity. Symptoms include aching teeth, fractured or loose teeth, and generalised sensitive teeth​1​.
  • Tooth sensitivity can be a sign of cavities, as decay can expose the sensitive layers of teeth. When the enamel is breached by decay, the dentine beneath can be affected, leading to sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet stimuli​2​.
  • The symptoms of tooth sensitivity often manifest as short, sharp pains that occur when the sensitive areas of teeth are exposed to stimuli like hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks. The pain usually subsides once the stimulus is removed. Persistent pain after the stimulus is gone may indicate tooth decay or other problems​2​.
  • If tooth sensitivity is persistent and does not subside after removing the stimulus, or if it is accompanied by severe pain, it’s important to consult a dentist. Persistent or severe sensitivity could be a sign of underlying issues such as tooth decay or a cracked tooth​2​.
  • Tooth sensitivity, depending on its cause, can often be managed or treated. Using desensitizing toothpaste, applying fluoride gels, and having restorative dental treatments such as fillings or crowns can help reduce sensitivity. If the cause is decay or gum disease, treating these conditions should alleviate the sensitivity​2​.
  • Enamel, once lost, does not grow back. This is why prevention of enamel erosion is crucial. To manage sensitivity caused by enamel loss, one can use desensitizing products or undergo dental treatments that protect the exposed dentine​2​.
  • Yes, to prevent exacerbating tooth sensitivity, it’s recommended to avoid acidic and sugary foods and drinks which can erode enamel. Also, very hot or very cold foods might trigger sensitivity and should be consumed with caution​2​.
  • Receding gums can indeed cause tooth sensitivity as they expose the tooth roots that are not covered by enamel. Treatments may include topical fluoride to strengthen the roots or dental procedures to cover the exposed area, such as gum grafts​2​.
  • Tooth sensitivity after dental work like fillings, crowns, or professional cleaning is usually temporary. It may last from a few days to up to two weeks. If sensitivity persists or turns into pain, it’s important to see a dentist​2​.
  • Tooth sensitivity, especially prolonged or severe, can be indicative of deep decay or infection that may necessitate root canal treatment. It’s essential to seek dental evaluation to determine the appropriate treatment​2​.