Tooth sensitivity

Article Author

Author: Nina Petrinić , DMD


Tooth sensitivity is a short-term, sharp toothache that occurs after temperature or chemical stimuli. The cause of hypersensitivity can be any condition that leads to a break in the continuity of enamel and cementum (the surface layers of the teeth that serve to protect the crown and roots). By interrupting the continuity of the aforementioned structures, dentin (the inner part of the hard tooth structure) is exposed to external influences, whose nerve endings react painfully. The most common stimuli to which the teeth react painfully are cold and hot food and drink, acidic food, brushing the teeth, blowing the teeth with air during a visit to the dentist, etc.

Common causes of tooth sensitivity are:

Tooth sensitivity can be permanent or temporary. In the case of permanent hypersensitivity, the discomfort usually increases over time until the cause of the hypersensitivity itself is resolved by changing bad habits or through the intervention of a dentist. Temporary sensitivity of the teeth is a normal phenomenon after various works on the teeth (orthodontics, prosthetic works, whitening and even fillings) and mostly passes spontaneously within 6 months. After the aforementioned work, the doctor of dental medicine will point out to the patient that it is normal to experience tooth sensitivity in the coming period and give him instructions for oral hygiene.

When visiting a dentist, it is important to describe when the pain occurs, how severe it is, what stimuli it is triggered by, and the dentist will assess the best therapeutic solution with an intraoral examination. If it is bruxism, it is recommended to make a splint, caries or bad fillings are repaired with a new filling, and in the case of receding gums, the option of surgical covering of the tooth necks can be considered.

If the doctor of dental medicine does not find the cause of tooth sensitivity, he can apply desensitizing agents, for example fluoride varnish, which is applied to the surface of the teeth and contributes to the remineralization of the enamel.

As a prevention of tooth hypersensitivity, it is suggested to use a soft brush and low-abrasive paste (toothpaste for sensitive teeth), and to brush with gentle rotating movements.