What Causes Sensitive Teeth & How to Treat It

There isn’t a pain much more annoying and distracting than the kind that comes with a sensitive tooth. Whether your teeth are chronically sensitive or you have an occasional twang of sharp pain, this discomfort can put a damper on your day.

Sensitive teeth make it difficult to perform certain necessary activities, like eating and drinking or brushing your teeth. The worst part is that you can’t always predict when doing one of these things is going to kick the nerves into hyperspace and cause you to hurt.

The sharp pain may only be temporary, but it’s not fun while it lasts. 

Knowing what causes sensitive teeth can help you prevent some of the pain, but until you get to the “root” of the problem, it’ll keep happening.

Most sensitive tooth causes can be narrowed down to dental issues like dentin hypersensitivity, worn enamel, or an exposed root in your tooth. In some cases, it might be more complex. Cavities, chipped and cracked teeth, gum disease, and old fillings are other common reasons for sensitive teeth.

Preventing Sensitive Teeth Pain

Of course, you want to get to the bottom of the issue and put a stop to the pain from whatever is causing it. But right now you probably just want to know if there’s a sensitive teeth remedy.

The best advice you can follow is to visit your dentist. Experts like those of us at Supremia Dentistry can quickly figure out why your teeth are causing you pain. 

In the meantime, these tips can help you prevent the pain from messing with your day:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Harder bristles irritate sensitive teeth and aren’t necessary. The softer brush can still remove plaque and bacteria just fine.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste, preferably one designed for sensitive teeth.
  • Floss everyday to prevent buildup of bacteria and plaque and gum disease. 
  • When you brush, use gentle, circular motions instead of harsh scrubbing.
  • Use a mouthguard if you are prone to teeth grinding. This behavior often happens when a person is sleeping and can’t stop themselves. It can be the cause of your sensitive teeth, though, as it erodes away the enamel and can even fracture a tooth.

Sensitive teeth are irritated by food and drink. Be cautious if you know your teeth have been acting up and avoid acidic beverages or meals. Skip out on the carbonated drinks, wine, and citrus. 

Teeth are sensitive to sugar, no matter how healthy they are. Limit your sugar intake in beverages and food. Brush well or rinse your mouth with water to get rid of the sugar after you eat.

Cold items are common culprits of pain, so take care if you plan on enjoying these. And if you must drink anything that is a known irritant, use a straw to avoid as much contact with your teeth as possible.

Fixing Sensitive Teeth

At your dental appointment, you’ll learn the actual cause of your sensitivity. Your dentist will work with you to come up with a treatment plan.

Depending on the reason for your sensitive teeth, you may have one or more of these treatments suggested to you:

  • A different toothpaste. Be prepared to let your dentist know what kind of toothpaste you’ve been using. They may recommend a certain product, usually a desensitizing toothpaste. This type of toothpaste is designed to gradually block the pain that comes with sensitive teeth. There’s still a reason for the sensitivity, but this first step will help prevent discomfort.
  • Fluoride treatments. Children are often recommended fluoride treatments to help build their enamel, but it’s good for adults, too. Your dentist has professional fluoride products that can be applied to the parts of the teeth that are sensitive. This treatment strengthens the tooth’s enamel and reduces your pain at the same time. You might even be prescribed fluoride treatments to use at home.
  • Bonding procedures. If the cause of your sensitive tooth is an exposed root surface, you’ll need more than a toothpaste or fluoride treatment to fix it. In this situation, your dentist might recommend bonding or desensitizing. It’s a simple procedure that uses a local anesthetic to numb the area. Then, your dentist applies a bonded resin to the exposed root to take away the sensitivity.
  • A gum graft. This is a more intensive procedure for complicated issues. When a tooth root loses gum tissue, thus causing you pain, a minor surgical graft can be performed. In a gum graft, the gum tissue is removed from a healthy area of the mouth and is attached to the problem site. You still have enough gum in the healthy area to keep your teeth there safe, but now the exposed roots from the missing tissue are covered up and won’t cause you pain.
  • A root canal. By the time you get to a root canal as a recommended course of treatment, your tooth is usually in pretty bad shape. When other treatments haven’t fixed the sensitivity, the problem could be more complicated and a root canal might be the only fix. In a root canal, an anesthetic is given to you and your dentist will surgically remove the infected pulp inside your tooth. The goal is to save the tooth, which is badly infected or damaged. Root canals are one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in dentistry, with excellent results. If you’re concerned about the pain, today’s anesthetics make this a relatively easy procedure. Compared with living with your infected or damaged tooth, the quick recovery of a root canal is much preferred!

No matter how badly your tooth hurts, don’t be scared of going to the dentist for a diagnosis! The experts at Supremia Dentistry have a lot of experience fixing the common causes of sensitivity. It may not be as complicated as you think it is!

Just remember, something that could be an easy fix now, if put off, becomes the hard fix you’re worried about. The sooner you come in and get treated, the better your chances are of having a quick and relatively painless treatment!

Fixing Sensitive Teeth

When your teeth hurt, it’s a pain unlike anything else. The sharp, shooting pain from an exposed nerve ending or eroded enamel can feel like it’s reaching into your brain!

To get rid of the pain and go on about your day until you can see the dentist, try these home remedies for sensitive teeth:

  • A saltwater rinse. Salt is used in medical facilities and by naturalists as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. Gargling with a saltwater rinse can reduce the discomfort of sensitive teeth. 
    • Add one-half teaspoon of salt to a glass of water, mix well, and then swish with the solution for about 30 seconds.
  • Honey with warm water. Honey is an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory product. It has been known to reduce pain and swelling. 
    • You can take advantage of this treatment by adding a teaspoon of honey to a small amount of warm water and rinsing with the solution.
  • A turmeric rinse. Turmeric is a spice commonly used in cooking, but it’s also an anti-inflammatory. The main compound in turmeric is called curcumin, and it’s the part that gives turmeric its healing powers. 
    • Make a paste from 1 tsp of ground turmeric, ½ tsp of salt, and ½ tsp of mustard oil. Massage the paste into your gums and teeth twice a day.
  • Green tea treatments. Considered a superfood by many, green tea has a lot of health benefits. One of the benefits is that it is an anti-inflammatory that can aid in better oral health.
    • Instead of drinking the green tea, use it as a mouthwash and rinse with it at least twice a day. This will help strengthen your teeth’s enamel and reduce inflammation in your gums.
  • Vanilla extract application. Probably one of the most flavorful and enjoyable home remedies, vanilla extract is so simple, it’s used on babies. When they begin teething, it can be painful.
    • Applying vanilla extract to the sore areas with a clean q-tip reduces the discomfort.

The same therapy works for adults, too! All you have to do is pour a little bit of the vanilla extract onto a cotton ball and press it to the painful area. Let it sit for a minute or two and then throw it away.

These home remedies can help get rid of your tooth’s sensitivity naturally until you can treat the problem at its source.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Teeth pain is rarely a situation where the “If I ignore it, it will go away” way of thinking works. When your tooth is sensitive, there’s an underlying problem somewhere. Ignoring it means that problem is going to get worse, not better.

Before an easy problem turns into something that requires a complicated and painful fix, call Supremia Dentistry to schedule an appointment. We’ll get to the “root” of your sensitive teeth and help you find a solution to get rid of the pain fast!