What is tooth sensitivity?

Sensitive teeth can be described as an unpleasant shooting sensation felt on occasions across single to multiple teeth in response to certain normal, everyday actions such as drinking or eating something cold and/or acidic, brushing the teeth, and flossing. Popping outside in the very cold air (an immediate change of temperature from a warm interior) can also cause it.

Usually, this condition occurs when the dentine – the yellowish hard tissue inside the enamel – has been exposed. This can happen when the protective layer of enamel on the surface of the affected teeth has eroded, but also when the gums have receded. This dentine layer has very small pores, called dentinal tubes, which are linked to the nerve endings, and now make direct contact with the elements. Tooth sensitivity can go away on its own, but most importantly it can be a sign of a significant problem, such as a large cavity or severe dental erosion, therefore it is worth considering a visit to the dentist if you have a persistent sensitivity.

Symptoms of sensitive teeth

  • Shooting, sharp, intense, jarring but thankfully temporary painful sensation across single to multiple teeth
  • The irritation felt can be experienced to varying degrees from mild discomfort to acute pain
  • Growing anxiety or even avoidance of your normal oral hygiene routine or regular mealtime choices which you didn’t feel before

Speak to a dental professional today

Our dentists have all the experience, skill and technology required to diagnose and treat tooth sensitivity. Arrange an appointment with our dental team at our central London dental clinic, situated on the prestigious Wimpole Street.

What causes sensitive teeth?

  • A diet high in sweet or acidic foods and drinks can break down the protective enamel layer of your teeth, leaving the dentine exposed.
  • Receding gums also expose the dentine which can result in sensitivity.
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism) wear down the enamel and subsequently exposes the dentine.
  • Inadvertently brushing your teeth or flossing too hard or too vigorously can cause your enamel to wear down
  • A recent teeth whitening treatment or a dental filling can cause sensitive teeth to occur for a short time afterwards
  • Vomiting during periods of regular illness unfortunately causes stomach acid to visit your mouth and so coat your teeth causing enamel erosion

How to treat sensitive teeth

  • A correct diagnosis is always key but you can try toothpaste designed for tooth sensitivity, which attempt to block the pores of the dentine.
  • Reduce or remove from your diet the trigger foods which can cause dental erosion – acidic beverages, alcohol, lemon and other acidic fruits.
  • If tooth decay is the culprit of the symptoms, treating it with a dental filling for instance may be the required treatment.
  • Make an appointment with your dental hygienist for professional teeth cleaning and to check if your current oral hygiene routine is optimised including your toothbrushing and flossing technique. Your dental hygienist can also advise on the best dental health products available to manage sensitive teeth
    • Book an appointment with your dentist for a thorough dental examination, diagnosis and care plan designed to ensure the condition is not serious (and to provide you with treatment it if it is).

If sensitive teeth are making you think twice about your day, contact Wimpole Street Dental Clinic.