Your Guide to Sensitive Teeth | What is Tooth Sensitivity?

Your Guide to Sensitive Teeth | What is Tooth Sensitivity?

It was once a tingle, but lately, even a cold drink is enough to make you wince with displeasure. You know you are suffering from tooth sensitivity, but what could be the cause?

Usually, sensitive teeth are a short term issue that may arise from brushing too hard, dietary issues or the use of certain dental products, such as teeth whiteners.

In most cases, the feeling occurs when the fluids within dentine, the soft bit of the tooth under the enamel, are affected by hot, cold, sweet or acidic substances. Triggering your nerve endings to fire, the resulting sensation ranges from a mild tingle to severe discomfort and pain.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Need relief? Tooth sensitivity treatments come in a range of products – from toothpaste to mouthwash, and we discuss your options below.

Daily Brushing & Flossing

Did you know that plaque, the white residue that accumulates on your teeth, releases acids that increase teeth sensitivity?

“Maintaining good oral hygiene is the best way to manage plaque build-up. For on-going maintenance, we recommend brushing twice a day, and a full daily flossing regiment,” says Dr Tuffley.

Hard bristled toothbrushes have been known to cause gums to recede and cause further sensitivity, and for this reason, we recommend softer tooth brushes as a preferable alternative. Also, studies have conclusively shown that electric toothbrushes, like the Colgate Omron or Oral-B Triumph, remove more plaque than conventional ones.

Desensitizing Toothpaste

Toothpaste products designed for sensitive teeth, such as Colgate Pro Relief, contain active ingredients that reduce sensitivity. Dr Tuffley saying,

“Desensitizing toothpaste is a great at-home treatment. With continued use over several weeks, these desensitizing products can markedly reduce sensitivity for many patients.”


Tooth Sensitivity Signs You Should Take Seriously

Sensitivity is a common phenomenon, but that does not mean that every case of sensitivity is the same. From dietary issues to oral trauma, sensitivity can often indicate more complex problems that require the diagnosis of a dental professional.

If sensitivity is present for a long period of time or causes severe discomfort, we recommend further investigation by a dental professional. Many helpful treatments are available at our practice, such as fluoride varnishes and gels, and we can help you find the treatment that is right for you.


“Much like a headache that lasts too long, persistent sensitivity may indicate a more series issue that needs medical attention – such as cracked teeth, tooth decay or receding gums. It is important that any ongoing or acute sensitivity is discussed with your dentist immediately,” says Dr Tuffley.