Tooth Sensitivity! – Dr. Shanaz

Have you ever bit into an ice-cream cone or chewed ice and suddenly felt this stinging sensitive feeling shooting up from your teeth to your brain? Or does drinking water affect you? Sometimes even a gush of wind or breathing in too hard makes your teeth all jittery? Well, fret not! It’s a very very common symptom, and it’s very treatable.


Sensitivity, or sensitive teeth is a very common symptom. Patients might experience this due to numerous reasons. Such as:

  • Worn out teeth (attrition)
  • Exposed dentine
  • Frequent night grinders or clenchers
  • Gum recession (exposing cementum)
  • Thin enamel
  • Recent fractured tooth or restoration
  • Small gaps in a previous restoration

Why do teeth become sensitive? Well, it’s mainly due to the exposed dentinal tubules of the dentine layer of our teeth. When these dentinal tubules are exposed to the outside environment, the exchange of fluids happen between the outer environment and the environment inside the tubules itself. This change of gradient between the two is transmitted through the tubules and it reaches the pulp. Thus having a significant effect on our teeth as the pulp contains the nerves (and blood vessels) which give us the sensitive feeling!

Yes, it’s all very science-y. But pretty logical as well!

So whenever the exposed area of dentinal tubules is introduced to a sudden change of environment (cold water, cold air, sweet food, hot drinks), sensitivity happens!

How do we as dental surgeons help patients with this? Well it depends on the cause of the situation. Sometimes a number of treatment procedures are required to help patients overcome this problem. Listed below are some treatment options we might attempt:

  • Filling an area where the enamel has worn out with a filling material
  • Gum surgery to treat recession cases
  • Desensitising the tooth by flouride varnishes
  • Replacing broken down or faulty restorations
  • Prescribing a desensitising toothpaste/mouthwash for the patient
  • Prescribing a mouth guard to clenchers and heavy grinders

So if you ever do have a problem like sensitive teeth, be sure to visit us for a consultation on what may be the cause, and find the best way to treat it!

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