Tooth sensitivity is a common dental problem that involves discomfort or pain in teeth when encountering certain substances and temperatures.The most common symptom sensitive teeth experience is a sudden, sharp flash of pain when teeth are exposed to air, cold, sweet, acidic or hot foods

Factors that contribute to sensitive teeth may include:

  • Brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush. This can wear down enamel, causing dentin to become exposed, or encourage gum recession.
  •  Decay. This is the most common reason for decay
  • Gum recession. This often happens in people suffering from periodontal disease, and it exposes the dentin.
  • Gingivitis. Inflamed and sore gum tissue can result in exposure of the tooth’s root.
  • Cracked teeth. These can become filled with bacteria from plaqueand cause inflammation in the pulp of the tooth. In more severe cases, it may lead to abscess and infection.
  • Teeth grinding or clenching. This can wear down enamel.
  • Tooth-whitening products. These contain harsh chemicals to remove stains, but can also remove the enamel.
  • Plaque buildup.
  • Long-term use of mouthwash. Some over-the-countermouthwashes contain acids. If dentin is exposed dentin, the acids can make existing tooth sensitivity worse and also further damage the dentin layer. There are neutral fluoride mouthwashes available that might be a better option.
  • Acidic foods. These can encourage enamel reduction.
  • Dental procedures. Teeth may be sensitive after professional cleaning, root planing, crown replacement and other tooth restoration procedures. Usually the pain will disappear in four to six weeks.

If you’re concerned about sensitive teeth, start by visiting your dentist. He or she can identify or rule out any underlying causes of your tooth pain. Depending on the circumstances, your dentist might recommend:

  • Desensitizing toothpaste. After several applications, desensitizing toothpaste can sometimes help block pain associated with sensitive teeth.
  • Fluoride. Your dentist might apply fluoride to the sensitive areas of your teeth to strengthen tooth enamel and reduce pain. He or she might also suggest the use of prescription fluoride at home.
  • Desensitizing or bonding. Occasionally, exposed root surfaces can be treated by applying bonding resin to the sensitive root surfaces. Local anesthetic might be needed.
  • Surgical gum graft. If your tooth root has lost gum tissue, a small amount of gum tissue can be taken from elsewhere in your mouth and attached to the affected site. This can protect exposed roots and reduce sensitivity.
  • Root canal. If your sensitive teeth cause severe pain and other treatments aren’t effective, your dentist might recommend a root canal — a procedure used to treat problems in the tooth’s soft core (dental pulp). While this might seem like a significant treatment, it’s considered the most successful technique for eliminating tooth sensitivity.

To prevent sensitive teeth from recurring, your dentist might offer suggestions to help you maintain your oral health