Sensitive Teeth – Causes And Solutions

Advice for our Wickford patients who suffer from this uncomfortable problem.

Although most of us probably associate dental pain with a toothache, for thousands of people, a usually less intense form of discomfort in the form of sensitivity, is a more common problem.

Patients who suffer from sensitive teeth often find it difficult to consume very hot or cold food and drinks. At the more severe end, even opening the mouth on a cold day can cause significant discomfort.

This problem isn’t inevitable, and even if you do suffer from it, there are solutions available at the Cygnet Dental Practice that can help to restore your teeth to a more comfortable state.

Causes and treatment of sensitive teeth

There are three main issues that might lead to sensitive teeth. There are others too, but these are the most common ones that we tend to see at our Wickford practice.

Cracked teeth

This is one of the more serious potential reasons for teeth that are sensitive to extremes of temperature. Not only is this problem in itself uncomfortable, but it will almost certainly lead to tooth decay or possibly breaking of the tooth unless it is treated. Especially if you notice this occurring in an individual tooth, or you are aware of it being affected by a blow to the mouth, do make sure that you ask one of our dentists to examine it as soon as you possibly can. Not only will this help us to stop the sensitivity but prompt treatment will also help prevent further deterioration of the tooth.


If the tooth is cracked, it is likely that this will need to be filled. A surface crack may be sealed using a composite material, but where the crack is deeper, and especially where the dentin layer of the tooth is affected, a deeper filling may well be necessary. There is no need for concern about this being visible if it affects a front tooth, as here at the Cygnet Dental Practice, we now have white dental fillings available for a great aesthetic result.

Receding gums

Our gums tend to recede when they are affected by gum disease, and especially periodontitis. Age too is a factor and many older people find that their gums shrink away from the teeth as they age. When this happens, it exposes a portion of the root part of the tooth which is an area that is not protected by the enamel. Consequently, sensitivity is much more likely.


Once your gums have receded, there is little that you can do to reduce the sensitivity other than making sure that you consume food and drinks that are at a moderate temperature. There are also gels and toothpastes available that can help in reducing the problem.

The best thing that you can do is to prevent, or at least delay, the onset of this problem by taking better care of your gums. In this country, we often focus on our teeth but don’t give our gums the attention that they deserve. You should always brush your gums lightly, making sure to reach into the far corners of the mouth. Use dental floss too, as that will help to remove ‘bad’ bacteria and food deposits from between the teeth. Finally, a six monthly appointment with the hygienist should be an essential part of your regular oral health care. If you do these three things diligently, there is a good chance that you will avoid or delay the problem of receding gums.

Enamel erosion

Increasingly, enamel erosion is a growing problem, especially amongst our younger patients and the rise in consumption of high sugar energy drinks is thought to be one of the main causes of this. Many of these are acidic and this will damage the enamel on the tooth surface. If you drink these regularly or consume any high acidity foods, such as citrus fruits, on a regular basis, you are a likely candidate for this problem.


Once the enamel on your teeth is eroded to the extent that you suffer significant discomfort from hot and cold, there is one solution which is trusted to help remove the discomfort. This comes in the form of porcelain dental veneers. These are used to replace some of the surface enamel on the teeth, protecting them from extremes of temperatures. The complementary advantage is that you will also benefit from a whiter smile!

Modern teeth veneers like those fitted at Cygnet Dental are very high quality, look very natural and should last ten years or more if looked after carefully. They can be replaced after this time where necessary.

If your teeth are sensitive, don’t presume that it is just ‘one of those things’. Make sure to have it checked by one of our experienced dental team who will recommend the most appropriate treatment for you.

You can contact us at our Wickford dental practice to arrange to discuss your options by calling us on 01268 733078.