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Sensitive Teeth

Does a cold drink or ice cream make you wince? Sugary foods or liquids cause your teeth to ache?

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There are many causes to your teeth’s sensitivity.


Wear of the outer protective layer of your teeth. Your teeth are made of different layers, enamel and dentin. The enamel is the hard highly mineralized outer white surface of your teeth. The dentin is the less mineralized yellow inner surface of your teeth.

The dentin has many micro tubes that transmit sensation to your tooth. When enamel is worn off the dentin, these micro tubes are exposed and thereby transmit sensitivity. Erosion is caused by many things such as improper tooth brushing technique, acidic oral environment or heavy tooth grinding.

Gum Recession

Your roots also have micro tubes that are covered by your natural gum tissue. This gum tissue can recede which exposes your roots which can lead to sensitivity. Causes of recession are similar to causes of tooth erosion however there is also a strong genetic component. Gum recession can be controlled by regular cleaning visits, desensitizing agents and selected dental procedures such as Gum Grafting.

Cavities, Loose Filling or Crowns

When there is direct access to your dentin you get sensitivity. When you have a cavity there is a small hole in your enamel that allows direct access to the sensitive dentin. Also loose fillings or crowns also create a space that bacteria can use to get direct access to the sensitive areas of your teeth.

These types of spaces are really bad as bacteria rapidly build up as it is extremely hard to clean them out with a regular toothbrush. If the hole grows closer to the middle of your tooth you can experience increasingly severe sensitivity and pain. Treating these problems early is the key to preserving your teeth.

Treatment for Sensitive Teeth

The key to treating tooth sensitivity is covering the micro tubes in the teeth. For erosion we can replace the lost enamel with a filling or crown. For cavities we can remove the decay and replace the lost enamel.

For recession our North Vancouver dental hygienist can place various dental products that can reduce sensitivity and thoroughly clean your teeth to remove irritants. Also we can recommend treatments that will regenerate the lost gum tissue such as a Gum Graft.

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