Reasons Your Teeth Are Sensitive?

Reasons Your Teeth Are Sensitive?

Posted by Ken Caryl Dentistry on Jun 5 2017, 01:18 AM

What causes my teeth to be sensitive?

One of the biggest complaints we get at the dental office is teeth sensitivity.  A lot of people experience sharp pain while drinking cold/hot beverages, when brushing and flossing, or when eating cold foods (i.e. ice cream).  Are you one of these people?

Tooth sensitivity can be caused by the gradual exposure of different layers of the tooth such as the cementum or dentin layer. When teeth lose their protective layer, the enamel, they can become sensitive.  Hot, cold, and acidic foods stimulate the nerve inside the tooth.  This stimulation may cause hypersensitivity and pain.

There are many different reasons for tooth sensitivity.  Here are some of the most common:

  • Cracks in the Tooth
  • Deep Restorations
  • Acidic Foods
  • Teeth Clenching or Grinding
  • Receding gums
  • Brushing Too Hard

Brushing Too Hard


Sometimes, brushing with too much force, or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can wear down your tooth enamel causing the dentinal tubules to be exposed, causing tooth sensitivity. Brushing your teeth in the wrong way can also lead to gum recession that can also cause tooth sensitivity due to exposure of the tooth root.  Always make sure you are using a soft-bristled toothbrush and the proper tooth brushing technique.  If you have a question about the proper way to brush your teeth, feel free to consult with Littleton Dentist- Dr. Greg Herzberg, or the dental hygienist at Ken Caryl Dentistry.

Cracked Tooth


Cracked fillings or a cracked tooth can cause tooth sensitivity and/or toothache.

Depending on how far the crack penetrates the tooth can cause more or less sensitivity to the affected tooth.   Depending on how deep the crack is your dentist may suggest a restoration after evaluating your symptoms.

Large Dental Restoration


When a tooth requires a large area of decay, a large amount of tooth structure has to be removed in order to place the restoration.   This can be due to fractures, wearing of the teeth, or most likely from a cavity.  Removing a large amount of the enamel and dentin layer will reduce protection of the pulp where the nerve of the tooth is located.  Having a deep dental restoration that is very close to the nerve can cause tooth sensitivity and at times dental pain.  Most of the time the tooth sensitivity is temporary and will get better with time as your tooth starts to heal after a dental procedure.  However, the deeper the restoration the more likely the tooth will have increased sensitivity.  If your sensitivity does not improve quickly, you should visit your dentist to get it looked at.

Acidic Food and Gastric Reflux


Acidic foods and gastric reflux can cause erosion to the enamel of your teeth.  People with a habit of sucking on lemons or limes will often have large erosion of the surface of their teeth eventually causing exposure of the dentin layer of their teeth.  Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a common condition that must be controlled to prevent acidic content of the stomach from regurgitating into the mouth.  This acidic content will also wear away at the enamel of the teeth causing tooth sensitivity.

Teeth Grinding



Teeth grinding involves clenching and grinding the teeth together. This habit can wear off the protective layer of the enamel and make your teeth sensitive.  Teeth grinding can cause other dental problems, such as fractures or cracked teeth.  If you notice yourself grinding or clenching your teeth at night, Littleton dentist – Dr. Greg Herzberg at Ken Caryl Dentistry can make you a custom nightguard to protect your teeth.

Receding Gums


Receding gums due to periodontal disease can cause pain and teeth sensitivity.

Gum recession occurs when the gum tissue surrounding your tooth pulls back, exposing the roots (cementum layer) of the tooth. Roots do not have a protective enamel covering which makes them more vulnerable to sensitivity.

Gums usually recede due to a vigorous brushing habit or poor quality oral hygiene habits which can lead to periodontal disease. If you notice your gums are receding, schedule an appointment with your Littleton Dentist- Dr. Greg Herzberg at Ken Caryl Dentistry to repair your gums and prevent further damage.

Suffering from tooth sensitivity?  We Can Help!!!

If you experience tooth sensitivity it’s best to make an appointment with your dentist to discuss your sensitivity problem in order to determine the underlying cause.  Littleton Dentist- Dr. Greg Herzberg can help identify the correct location of sensitivity and suggest the best course of action.  Contact us at Ken Caryl Dentistry – 303.973.5280 and we’ll be able to help address your concerns about tooth sensitivity.

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