HealthSheets™


What Are Sensitive Teeth?

Teeth are sensitive if they often hurt when they are exposed to cold or to air. You may also feel discomfort or a sudden flash of pain when eating sweet, acidic, or hot foods. The pain you feel may be due to receding gums, worn tooth enamel, or worn root surfaces. Healthy teeth are protected by strong enamel and good gums.

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How teeth become sensitive

When enamel wears away or gums recede, dentin can be exposed. Dentin is the layer of the tooth that is normally covered by the enamel and gums. The most common cause of sensitive teeth is exposed dentin. Acidic foods can wear away the tooth surface. Heavy or improper brushing can wear away the surface and expose the dentin. Dentin is connected to the nerve that triggers pain in sensitive teeth. 

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If you have sensitive teeth

See your dentist if you have sensitive, painful teeth. Your dentist will examine your teeth to determine the cause of your tooth sensitivity. He or she will then recommend a proper treatment plan.

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