Sensitive Teeth: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

teeth grinding

Tooth sensitivity is a problem that can affect your daily life. When you have sensitive teeth, even simple things like eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth can become excruciating.


But how do you know if your teeth are sensitive or if there’s a bigger problem that needs to be addressed (like a cavity)? What—if anything—can you do about your sensitive teeth?


At Smile Concepts, we’re all about creating healthy mouths and happy smiles, so we want to help our patients understand and treat their tooth sensitivity quickly and effectively. Here’s what you need to know about this common problem.

Causes of tooth sensitivity

Many things can cause your teeth to feel more sensitive. The most common culprits are:

  • Acidic foods and beverages, such as citrus, tomatoes, sugar, and sodas
  • Teeth grinding or clenching
  • Brushing too hard (with too much pressure)
  • Teeth whitening/bleaching
  • Gum problems (receding gums or gum disease)
  • Tooth decay, especially around old fillings
  • Response to recent dental work

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, especially over a prolonged period of time, your dentist will likely ask you about these possible causes.

Symptoms of tooth sensitivity

Yes, tooth sensitivity is “pain in your teeth.” But if you really want to be able to address the problem effectively, you should be aware of the specific symptoms you are experiencing.

For example, are your teeth particularly sensitive to temperature (hot or cold)? Do you experience the most sensitivity after chewing? Does the sensitivity flare up when you eat sweets? Do your teeth feel worse while you are brushing and/or flossing?

It’s also important to try to pinpoint the location of the pain. Is it focused mainly in one spot, or is it more widespread?The answers to these questions will be important clues to your dentist about how to best treat your tooth sensitivity.

Treatment for tooth sensitivity

Treating tooth sensitivity will depend heavily on what is causing the problem, and on the severity of the pain.

Mild sensitivity may be treated by over-the-counter solutions such as sensitivity toothpaste. If your sensitivity is more severe, your dentist may want to try other treatment options as well.

The most important thing to remember is to not put off a visit to the dentist because of tooth sensitivity. Visiting your dentist is your best bet for identifying the source of the sensitivity and finding a long term solution.

Smile Concepts can help you get to the bottom of your tooth sensitivity, so that your smile is simply beautiful—not painful. If your teeth are sensitive, whether it’s a new problem or one that you’ve put up with for a long time, give us a call. Making an appointment is your first step towards a healthier smile!