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What Causes Teeth Sensitivity?

Have you ever sipped on hot soup and experienced a sudden tooth pain? Or brushed your teeth and cringed? The culprit of such discomfort may be teeth sensitivity, also referred to as tooth hypersensitivity or dentin hypersensitivity. Although some dental patients experience minor levels of teeth sensitivity, for other patients, teeth sensitivity is a sharp, sudden pain that is difficult to live with on a daily basis. This pain can hinder normal life and needs to be addressed, stopped, and prevented, which begins with a consultation with a professional dentist.

Dr. Alexander Ash of Studio Dental Care offers patients general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry services in the greater Los Angeles area.

Causes of Teeth Sensitivity

Teeth sensitivity is caused by an increased exposure of tooth dentin, the layer beneath teeth enamel. Worn enamel, exposed teeth roots, and exposed teeth nerves may be caused by:

Aggressive Brushing

Patients may believe that in order to thoroughly clean the mouth and prevent cavities, brushing roughly will best remove plaque. However, the opposite is true, and aggressive brushing may cause teeth sensitivity by aggravating tooth enamel. Gentle brushing with soft bristles in a circular motion will clean a dirty mouth.

Receding Gum Lines

Receding gum lines may become an issue as people age. Men and women experience hormone changes over the course of their lives, which may affect gum health. As gum lines recede, tooth roots are exposed, which increases the sensitivity during eating, brushing, and flossing.

Certain periodontal diseases, such as gingivitis, also expose teeth roots and may cause sensitivity.

Teeth Whitening

Patients who have sensitive teeth may experience an increase in sensitivity during teeth whitening processes, both professional in-office whitening and do it yourself, at-home teeth whitening. Prior to whitening teeth, discuss the best options for individual situations with your dentist.

Acidic Foods

Eating large quantities of food with high acidity levels may also wear down teeth enamel and expose tender teeth nerves. Consult your dentist about whether or not you should reduce the consumption of foods and beverages such as coffee, tea, alcohol, tomatoes, grapefruit, and oranges. This may not be necessary in every case.

Orthodontic Procedures and Tooth Decay

Oftentimes, sensitivity is normal for dental patients after a routine visit, dental procedure, or regular cleaning. Removing excess plaque and tartar on the surface of the tooth may temporarily irritate the nerves below the surface. In addition, patients with a cracked tooth, tooth fissure, or symptoms of tooth decay are likely to experience more teeth sensitivity.

For more information regarding teeth sensitivity and methods to prevent further sensitivity, please follow the link to the ADA’s official Mouth Healthy website by clicking HERE.

Dr. Alexander Ash of Studio Dental Care located in Studio City, California offers restorative dentistry, including composite fillings and resin fillings for patients of all ages. Dr. Ash proudly serves patients in the greater Los Angeles area including Toluca Lake, Burbank, and Sherman Oaks. For more information regarding restorative treatments including consultations, fillings, routine cleanings, crowns, and extractions, please feel free to contact Dr. Ash and his friendly staff.


  • ucla
  • Weill Cornell Medical College - Cornell University
  • Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • John Hopkins Medicine
  • University of maryland
  • USC

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