If you have ever experienced that first dull and then sudden sharp ache that comes with eating ice cream or sipping hot coffee then chances are you’ve felt the painful discomfort of having sensitive teeth.
Or if you’ve ever found yourself wincing while brushing or flossing your teeth, you may have sensitive teeth.
In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth—the part above the gum line. Under the gum line a layer called cementum protects the tooth root. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is dentin.
Dentin is less dense than enamel and cementum and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals).
When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum these tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth.
Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede. The result can be hypersensitivity.
Sensitive teeth can be treated. The type of treatment will depend on what is causing the sensitivity. Your dentist may suggest one of a variety of treatments: