Dental & Oral Health

Tooth Sensitivity - Causes, Treatment and Home remedies

Written by
Dr. Honey Arora
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Apr 24, 2017 and last reviewed on Sep 26, 2019   -  3 min read

Abstract

Abstract

The sensitivity of tooth is one of the most common dental problems that each one of us faces at some stage of our life. This article deals with the causes, treatments, home remedies, and preventive measures to deal with teeth sensitivity.

Tooth Sensitivity - Causes, Treatment and Home remedies

Tooth Sensitivity, termed as dentinal hypersensitivity, causes short lasting sharp pain in a single tooth or multiple teeth. It occurs when teeth come in contact with hot, cold, sweet, and acidic foods or due to exposure of teeth to air.

Important Points

  1. Teeth sensitivity can cause serious discomfort and inability to eat or drink, due to the short bouts of sharp pain.
  2. It occurs when the top layer of teeth (enamel) wears off due to many causes, leading to exposure of the inner softer and sensitive layer (dentin).
  3. It affects almost 2 to 3 people, out of 10 individuals.
  4. The age group that gets affected are young adults to middle-aged people.
  5. Many treatment modalities and remedies can help in relieving sensitivity.

Major Causes

  • Vigorous Brushing: If you have a habit of brushing teeth with a lot of pressure, then you may tend to wear off the enamel layer, which will make your teeth sensitive. Other reasons can be using a very hard toothbrush, brushing teeth for long durations, and long-term use of whitening toothpaste as they have more of abrasives, which cause dental abrasion.
  • Teeth Grinding or Bruxism: The constant grinding action of teeth causes loss of enamel layer, exposing inner sensitive layer that is dentin.
  • Acidic and Citrus Food: Individuals who take ample amounts of citrus and acidic foods like soft drinks, sauces, pickles, etc. tend to lose more minerals from the teeth making them sensitive.
  • Gum Diseases: If you have deep gum infection then it can cause gum recession and root surface exposure, which will make your teeth sensitive.
  • Tooth Infection and Fracture: If you have deep decay with exposed nerves or tooth fractures due to sudden heavy biting forces or trauma, then these conditions can make your teeth sensitive.
  • Dental Treatment: Teeth can become sensitive post an orthodontic treatment, root canal treatment, broken fillings, or crown placement. But these are temporary.
  • Systemic Conditions: Certain medical conditions like acid reflux, peptic ulcers, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia can cause teeth sensitivity by dental erosion.

Symptoms

  • Symptoms of dental hypersensitivity include short bouts of sudden pain on exposure to hot, cold, acidic, sweet foods, and fluids. It subsides once the irritant is removed.

Treatment Options for Tooth Sensitivity

  • Desensitizing Toothpaste: For mild to moderate tooth sensitivity, individuals are advised to apply anti-sensitivity toothpaste.They work by closing or occluding the dentinal tubules. Applying the paste over the teeth and leaving it for about 30 seconds and then brushing your teeth will help in reducing sensitivity.
  • Other Agents: Certain other agents that can assist in occluding the dentinal tubules are fluoride varnish and dentine adhesives. If sensitivity does not resolve with desensitizing toothpaste, then other in-office treatment techniques are used.
  • Dental Cement: If there is any cavity or loss of tooth structure, then dental cement like glass ionomer cement, composite resins, etc. can be used. It will relieve the sensitivity as well as also repair the tooth defect.
  • Lasers: CO2 laser and Nd: YAG lasers can be used if other management techniques do not work.

Home Remedies

Following home remedies can provide you some relief from mild tooth sensitivity, although if there is some underlying pathology, then a professional advice and treatment are mandatory.

  1. Mix a tablespoon of mustard oil and rock salt, apply this gently over the teeth. Leave it for a minute and then rinse off.
  2. You should gargle with warm saline solution twice a day.

Prevention

  1. You should not brush your teeth for more than two minutes. Hold your brush in a pen grip to avoid excessive pressure application and use a soft toothbrush only.
  2. Limit the intake of soft drinks, avoid acidic foods, excessive use of mouthwash. Drink plenty of water.
  3. If you have teeth grinding or clenching habit, consult your dentist and get a mouth guard made.
  4. If there is any dental problem present, get it treated as early as possible.
  5. If you have any underlying pathology like acid reflux, then treatment of the same should be done.

For more information consult a tooth sensitivity specialist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/dentist/tooth-sensitivity

Frequently Asked Questions


1.

How do you stop pain radiating from sensitive teeth?

Some tips to prevent sensitive teeth from hurting are:
- Use desensitizing toothpaste.
- Avoid drinking aerated drinks and eating acidic food.
- Use fluoridated mouthwash.
- Get all tooth decay filled.
- Get a mouth guard to prevent night grinding.
- For severely decayed teeth, go for root canal treatment.

2.

How does a sensitive tooth feel like?

A sensitive tooth will give sharp and sudden flashes of pain when exposed to cold, sweet, air, acidic, or hot food items.

3.

Is cavity always the cause for tooth sensitivity?

No, a cavity is one of the many causes of tooth sensitivity. The other causes include:
- Brushing your teeth vigorously.
- Using a hard toothbrush.
- Bruxism (grinding your teeth at night).
- Consuming acidic foods and beverages.

4.

What are the ways to strengthen sensitive teeth?

Unfortunately, once the enamel from the tooth is lost, you cannot regrow it, but some tips to strengthen your teeth are:
- Avoid eating and drinking acidic beverages.
- Use toothpaste and mouthwash containing fluoride.
- Do not apply unnecessary force to clean your teeth.
- Use a soft brush.

5.

What are the types of tooth sensitivity?

The types of tooth sensitivity are based on the symptoms you experience. The types are:
- Sensitivity to cold and hot foods.
- Sensitivity while biting or chewing.
- Dull ache with sensitivity.
- Constant and severe pain with sensitivity.

6.

How long does sensitivity last in a tooth?

Your tooth will be sensitive unless you get the underlying cause treated. If the sensitivity is after getting a tooth filled or after getting your tooth cleaned, the sensitivity will usually go away after 4 to 6 weeks.

7.

Does washing your mouth with salt water help sensitive teeth?

Washing your mouth with salt mixed with lukewarm water helps reduce pain and tooth sensitivity. Salt helps reduce inflammation and is an effective antiseptic.

8.

How can a dentist help treat sensitive teeth?

Your dentist might help you by applying a fluoride gel or stronger desensitizing topical agents.

9.

How to naturally desensitize teeth?

Some natural remedies for sensitive teeth are desensitizing toothpaste, saltwater mouthwash, hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse, honey and warm water, and by applying turmeric on teeth.

Last reviewed at:
26 Sep 2019  -  3 min read

RATING

16

Tags:

Related Questions & Answers


What treatment should I take for cavities in teeth?

Query: Hello doctor, I am suffering from cavities since childhood. And have got four teeth removed by the dentist. My age is 25 years old. What suitable treatment should I take for cavities?  Read Full >>


Answer: Hello, Welcome to icliniq.com. To avoid dental caries, the most effective thing is proper oral hygiene. It means brush two times a day using floss, clean your tongue in a proper way. After that, we come to the treatment part. The best thing when you see a single black dot in your tooth, see your d...  Read Full

My 2 year old son's teeth are exposed and are sensitive. Please help.

Query: Hi doctor, I have a 2 year old son, who was born through a c-section. One out of his six teeth is actively disintegrating. The enamel has come off, and the inner part of the tooth is exposed and sensitive to cold drinks. What should I do?  Read Full >>


Dr. Honey Arora
Dentist

Answer: Hi, Welcome to icliniq.com. The symptoms look like that of an early childhood caries (nursing bottle caries), which is commonly due to more sweet in the baby's diet and poor maintenance of oral hygiene. I would suggest you take an OPG (orthopantomography), an x-ray of all the teeth. The treatment...  Read Full

Can gum be brought back to its original position after recession?

Query: Hello doctor, I am 21 years old. I have a tongue side gum recession in lower front six teeth. I am feeling sensitivity and my teeth are slightly mobile. I have gum receding near about 6 mm. Can gum be again gained to its original position? What should I do?  Read Full >>


Dr. Tooba Qazi
Dentist

Answer: Hi, Welcome to icliniq.com. Your gum recession is not very severe. You just have to get scaling done at every 8 to 10 months time period. And for sensitivity, use Protect (Potassium Nitrate) mouthwash for sensitivity for one month twice a day. And do saltwater mouthrinses before sleeping for two w...  Read Full

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on Gum Disease or Sensitive Teeth?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.
Enter Your Health Query
You can upload files and images in the next step.

Fee:  

 


Disclaimer: All health articles published on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek the advice from your physician or other qualified health-care providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website.