Tooth Desensitization – Dental Treatment

Introduction – Tooth Desensitization

A sensitive tooth is not a pleasant feeling. It feels like a toothache, and the patient also assumes it is a toothache. The dentist can only differentiate in them.

Teeth have four layers: enamel, dentin, cementum and pulp. The enamel is the hard outer layer of the teeth. It protects the underlying dentin and pulp, while cementum covers the roots. The dentin is formed from a series of tubules. Without the protection of enamel, irritants can enter these tubules and reach the pulp. Sensitivity is a common problem and there have been many advances toward easing the associated pain and discomfort.

Causes of Sensitive Teeth:

There are many causes for sensitive teeth which are as follows:

  1. Many people regularly use mouthwash to maintain that fresh breath. However, some mouthwashes may contain acids that make the teeth sensitive or make already sensitive teeth worse.
  2. Food that are acid-rich, like tomatoes, fruit drinks and citrus fruits can erode the protective enamel on the teeth. Once the enamel wears off, the vulnerable dentin beneath is exposed. This causes pain in teeth. Eating a piece of cheese or a glass of milk after eating these substances can help.
  3. Some toothpaste can also cause sensitive teeth. It has been found that some tooth whiteners and toothpastes have peroxide-based bleaching solutions causing sensitive teeth.
  4. Receding gums. Usually the roots of the teeth are hidden under the protective gum tissue. However, when the gums begin to pull away from the teeth; it results in exposed roots. Along with this exposure, sensitivity also occurs.
  5. Using a hard toothbrush or brushing the teeth too hard can cause sensitive teeth. A hard toothbrush or hard brushing can cause the roots of the teeth to become exposed, causing the gums to recede. This results in sensitivity.
  6. Dental Work. Recent dental works such as teeth cleaning, crowning, restorations or root canal can cause the teeth to be sensitive.
  7. Cracked teeth. When a tooth is cracked, the nerves can become irritated when chewing rubs the cracked tooth pieces together.
  8. Grinding or clenching the teeth can lead to sensitive teeth. This can wear away tooth enamel.
  9. A cavity will cause sensitivity to your teeth.

Treatment of sensitivity is called as desensitization of teeth. This can be achieved as follows:

Desensitizing Toothpaste

Desensitizing toothpastes work by blocking transmission of sensations through the tubules of the dentin layer so that they are unable to reach the nerve. It is also advised to place a small amount of desensitizing toothpaste on the sensitive areas in addition to regular brushing with it. After application, the toothpaste should be left overnight to take its effect. Consistent overnight use should bring some relief within a few weeks.

Soft Toothbrush

Vigorous brushing with a hard toothbrush can also cause some sensitivity. This can wear away the enamel, exposing the tubules that lead to the tooth’s nerve. Harsh brushing can also cause the gums to recede, exposing the roots of the teeth. The enamel cannot be restored once it is lost, but a soft-bristled toothbrush can prevent the damage from progressing. This will also help with sensitivity.


Fluoride is found in most toothpastes, but a special rinse or treatment may be used when teeth are sensitive. Fluoride rinses may be available over-the-counter, or the dentist can prescribe a stronger rinse or varnish. The fluoride is found to strengthen the tooth’s protective enamel layer and reduces the transmission of sensations.

Use of mouth guard

If the patient has habit of grinding the teeth at night, a mouth guard is advised to use while sleeping. It helps in protecting the outer enamel layer which may wear away by grinding, thus reducing the chances of dental sensitivity.

Use of desensitizing toothpaste after dental work

Sensitivity of teeth is a condition that the patient has to deal with for the rest of his life, or at least, as long as there are teeth in mouth.
The sensitivity of teeth does not wear away even after dental treatments such as filling of cavity, crowning, root canal or six-month cleaning. It may take 4 to 6 weeks for the nerves to quiet down. In addition, a layer of desensitizing toothpaste should be placed on the tooth that was worked on, and left for about 20 minutes. This should be done twice a day, until the pain subsides.

Sensitivity of teeth is a condition that the patient has to deal with for the rest of his life, or at least, as long as there are teeth in mouth. It should be kept in mind that the pain of sensitivity can be relieved by above treatment and a root canal is not always necessary.

- Link of interest: Twitter Tooth Desensitization – Dental Treatment.


This article is not medical advice nor a substitute to professional health advice. Always consult a doctor.

Learn Zone
Facebook Twitter Google + Blog Instagram Pinterest RSS
Surgery Cost
Connect with Clinis
Other Treatments