Sensitive Teeth

Do you suffer from tooth sensitivity?

You are not alone, one in three adults suffer from tooth sensitivity. When sensitivity affects your teeth, eating experiences that are normally pleasurable can be very painful. Food and drinks that are usually enjoyable, such as hot coffee, steaming home made soup, ice-cold lemonade, or fresh strawberry ice-cream can stimulate a sharp, sudden pain that shoots deep into the nerve endings of your teeth.

What causes sensitive teeth?


Bacteria begins to destroy the enamel of the tooth making its way to the next layer,which is dentine. The dentine is directly connected to the pulp of the tooth via little tubules. These fluid filled tubules once exposed, conduct hot/cold/sweet sensations to the nerve of the tooth, consequently making the tooth sensitive .  As the bacteria penetrates further into the tooth it starts to infect and destroy the pulp (nerve) of the tooth. The dying nerve may start becoming very sensitive as the nerves are now completely exposed.  The infection will persist if not treated, through the tip of the root into the bone causing an abscess. The tooth has now probably progressed from being sensitive to a constant ache.


Tartar is a hardened substance that adheres to the surface of the tooth.  It is made up of several components being bacteria (plaque), saliva and food. The bacterial component destroys the gingiva (gum) causing gingivitis and progresses to destroying the bone holding the tooth causing Periodontitis. This exposes the root of the tooth (recession), which is very close to the nerve causing sensitivity.

Toothbrush Abrasion

People who use a very hard toothbrush or not the correct brushing technique can destroy the gingiva (gum) around the tooth causing it to recede, exposing the root of the tooth. This can wear away the root surface making the tooth very sensitive.


Grinding or clenching teeth will cause the tooth to flex along the gum line. This can cause the gum to recede and start to destroy tooth structure. Combine this with a poor brushing habit, the surface of the root is worn away making the tooth very sensitive.


This habit wears away tooth structure. Also the constant severe forces placed on the teeth causes the nerve to be over stimulated and consequently very sensitive.

Due to the many causes of sensitivity, we suggest visiting your FirstBite dentist to determine the exact source and cause of sensitivity and the best treatment option for you.