What causes tooth sensitivity?


  • The outer layer of a healthy tooth is a covering of hard enamel that has no feeling. The sensitive part of a tooth is the dentine and the pulp (nerve) inside the tooth. Normally the dentine is covered by the enamel over the part of the tooth above the gumline.
  • Sensitivity occurs if the dentine becomes exposed. This can be because of enamel decay or gum recession or even by over-vigorous brushing causing loss of enamel by abrasion. Clenching and grinding your teeth can also cause enamel loss at the neck of the tooth.
  • Treatment of sensitivity involves sealing the tiny ‘tubules’ on the surface of the dentine. This can be done by the dentist or dental hygienist applying various varnishes. In more severe cases, covering the dentine with a filling is more effective. In mild cases, a desensitising toothpaste such as Colgate Sensitive or Sensodyne™ will create plugs that seal off the dentine tubules, providing relief.
  • In extreme cases, root canal treatment can become necessary. We would like to help you before things get to that point!
  • As with all dental disease, prevention is better than the cure. 


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