Are you afraid of enjoying your favorite ice cream because your teeth hurt? Does the first sip of steaming coffee bring shooting pain to your teeth? If yes, then you are not alone! According to a research study 1, one in every eight Americans suffers tooth sensitivity. But here is the good news; tooth sensitivity is treatable! So, read on to find out what teeth sensitive is and how you can get rid of it. 

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?


Teeth become sensitive when their outer protective enamel layer gets damaged. Under healthy conditions, our teeth are covered on the outside by a highly mineralized layer called dental enamel, which protects the underlying layers; dentine and pulp. However, when regular oral hygiene is ignored, harmful bacteria in plaque and tartar release toxins that make the oral environment acidic. Consequently, the enamel layer starts to wear off, exposing the underlying dentine and pulp layers which contain blood vessels and nerves. The exposure of these layers – which are less resistant and more sensitive than enamel – makes the teeth hypersensitive; whenever you eat or drink anything hot or cold, the exposed nerves cause sudden sharp pain in the affected teeth. This is called dental hypersensitivity, or dentinal hypersensitivity. 

Besides poor oral hygiene, other causes of dental hypersensitivity, according to the American Dental Association 2 are:

    • Dental cavities 

    • Worn dental fillings 

    • Dental trauma causing damage to the enamel 

    • Gum disease 

    • Congenitally weak enamel 

What Happens If I Don’t Seek Treatment for my Sensitive Teeth?

Tooth sensitivity marks the initial stage of a host of dental complications that may occur if this issue is not addressed timely. For example, if dental sensitivity treatment is ignored, the exposed dentine becomes prone to developing dental cavities. Furthermore, with time, there is a risk of infection within the interior of the tooth – the root canal – causing severe pain and discomfort and requiring a root canal treatment procedure to treat. Finally, if the infection is not treated timely, it may progress to an irreversible stage, requiring tooth extraction. So, tooth sensitivity should not be taken lightly, and treatment must be sought immediately. 

How Can I Prevent The Sensitivity Of My Teeth? 

Fortunately, dental hypersensitivity is treatable, especially during its early stages. Some of the treatment options available for the management of tooth sensitivity are:

    • Oral Hygiene Maintenance – 

      the first step in managing early-stage dentinal hypersensitivity is to improve one’s oral health with regular flossing, brushing, and dental checkups. Although these preventive measures will not restore the damaged tooth tissues, they will help prevent further damage and the formation of dental cavities. Besides, eating a healthy diet and limiting the intake of acidic foods also go a long way in preventing tooth sensitivity.  

    • Desensitizing Toothpaste – 

      these toothpastes contain compounds such as calcium, phosphate, fluoride, and arginine that replenish the lost minerals in the dental tissues and plug the exposed dentinal tubules. As a result, these toothpastes are quite effective in treating early-stage dental sensitivity. 

    • Fluoride Gels – 

      these gels or varnishes contain fluoride, a highly effective mineral in reinforcing weakened teeth and replenishing the mineral content in the dental tissues. Fluoride varnishes are applied professionally by dentists, typically once or twice a year. Your Gramercy Park Dentist may also recommend using prescription dietary fluoride supplements at home.  

    • Dental Restoration – 

      if the sensitivity occurs because of a damaged tooth with exposed dentine, the solution is to restore its structure with a suitable filling material. For small-sized cavities or dental defects, your New York Dentist may use bonding or inlays. However, an onlay or a porcelain crown may be required for larger tooth defects to restore the tooth’s strength. 

    • Gum Grafting – 

      sometimes, tooth sensitivity occurs because of gingival recession due to underlying gum disease. In such cases, gum recession leads to the exposure of the root, which is less mineralized and has lower resistance against dental cavities. Hence, the roots, when exposed, are more prone to being sensitive. If tooth sensitivity occurs due to exposed tooth roots, your Gramercy Park Dentist will perform a gum grafting procedure. In this, a graft is taken from another site in the body and then used to restore the optimal height of the gum tissues relative to the roots. 

    • Root Canal Treatment – 

      a root canal procedure is your Manhattan Dentist’s last resort to save a grossly damaged tooth. This procedure is needed when the pulp tissue inside the tooth becomes irreversibly inflamed. In such cases, your dentist will open an access cavity and remove the inflamed pulp tissue using special instruments. 

Once the tooth’s interior – the pulp chamber and the root canals – have been cleaned of the infected pulp tissue, your dentist will thoroughly clean them with an antiseptic solution to neutralize the bacteria. Afterward, they will wash and dry the root canals and place an inert material called gutta-percha, which prevents re-infection. Finally, a permanent restoration is placed on the tooth, followed by a porcelain crown (if needed) to reinforce it. 

Tooth sensitivity is a commonly occurring dental problem that affects almost every individual at some stage in their lives. While treatment options are available to manage this condition, it can be easily prevented through oral hygiene care and regular dental checkups. 

If you are looking for a preventive dentistry practice in NY, Dr. David Toksoy’s minimally-invasive dental practice in Manhattan is your best option. At Dr. Toksoy | Studio Dental NY, we believe that prevention is the best cure for dental problems. That is why, we take pride in having state-of-the-art facilities to diagnose and prevent dental issues before they can cause permanent damage. So, please book an appointment with Dr. Toksoy | Studio Dental NY today and start enjoying a healthy and active life.teeth sensitive