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Sensitive Teeth

Do you suffer from sensitive teeth?

Do you brush your teeth and feel a twinge? Do you avoid eating/drinking anything cold due to the pain in your teeth?

Sensitivity of your teeth can range from a mild awareness of a tooth to a severe nerve type pain that radiates from your upper teeth to your lower teeth. Sensitivity can be described as a nerve type pain that can range in time from a few seconds after the stimulus is provided to hours.

If you are noticing sensitivity of your teeth then this is likely to be a warning sign of a dental problem.

What causes sensitive teeth?

Tooth decay

Fractured or lost fillings

Exposed dentine/root surface

Gum disease

Wear on teeth from grinding, erosion, clenching

Toothbrush abrasion

Today, we will discuss exposed dentine/root surface from toothbrush abrasion. We will give a summary of the other causes and refer you to our other more detailed blogs in relation to the other forms of wear.

A common cause of sensitivity is wear of enamel causing dentine/root exposure. Toothbrush abrasion- is caused by brushing too hard and likely using a hard bristle toothbrush. The majority of people tend to brush too aggressively. These can lead to the enamel being worn away, particularly where the teeth meet the gums. The exposed dentine may become sensitive as it is no longer protected.


To prevent toothbrush abrasion, brush with a soft bristled brush in small circular movements or use an electric brush. Blackrock Clinic Dentistry love using a soft manual curaprox toothbrush .

Try to change which side you begin brushing as remember the side you brush first tends to be the side you brush best.

Dental decay: It is important to have a dental examination every 6 months to help prevent and treat tooth decay. If you have noticed a roughness in your fillings or any signs of wear on your fillings then it is important to have your teeth examined.

Dental Erosion: please see our blog below on dental erosion. This is the wear of dental enamel through an attack of acid from acidic foods, drinks, relux, etc.. This can lead to sensitivity as the dentine is no longer protected.

Grinding your teeth can lead to wear of enamel causing dentine exposure. Please discuss with your dentist if you feel you grind your teeth. We will give a more detailed discussion on grinding and clenching in our next blog.

Gum recession: receding gums occur naturally over time. This will lead to root exposure. This root exposure will then lead to root sensitivity.

Treatment of sensitive teeth

Use a desensitising toothpaste. This works by creating an artificial layer over the exposed root reducing sensitivity. You will need to use this toothpaste for at least a week before you may notice a difference. As suggested above, review how you brush your teeth with your dentist.

You may also require bondings (small fillings) over the exposed root which will make the root look more aesthetic also.


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