Why Do My Teeth Feel So Sensitive?

Chronic tooth sensitivity is often an early sign of gum or dental issues. Here are a few reasons why your teeth might feel highly sensitive to changes in temperature or pressure.

It’s not unusual for teeth to feel sensitive sometimes, especially when biting into cold foods, such as popsicles or ice cream. However, persistent and painful sensitivity is often an indication of worn enamel, exposed roots, cavities, or other dental problems.

At Image Dental in Stockton, California, our providers can determine what’s causing your sensitivity and find a solution. We offer a wide range of general dentistry services, and no matter what’s troubling you, we can give you the help you need.

In this blog, we discuss some of the common causes of tooth sensitivity and some of the treatments.

Causes of tooth sensitivity 

The nerve endings inside your teeth are protected by your enamel, which is why sensation is dulled. However, if these nerves become exposed or the enamel layer wears thin, this can cause your teeth to feel more sensitive than usual. 

Temperature is often one of the biggest indicators of sensitivity. What begins as a wince when you bite into cold foods or sip hot coffee slowly becomes persistent tooth sensitivity. Cold air, carbonated drinks, and sugar can also cause teeth to ache. 

Left untreated, hypersensitivity can worsen to the point that room-temperature water is painful to drink. 

Sensitive teeth can be caused by a number of factors, and your risk increases with age. This is because your enamel wears away as you get older, leading to fragile and more sensitive teeth. Other factors that can contribute to tooth sensitivity include: 

  • Receding gums
  • Brushing too hard 
  • An acidic diet or acid reflux
  • Bruxism, or teeth grinding 
  • Excessive bleaching 

If you have a cracked, chipped, or otherwise broken tooth, there’s a good chance the nerves have been exposed. This can also be the case if you lose a filling or crown.

Treating tooth sensitivity 

To give you the help you need, our team first evaluates your teeth and gums. If you experience sensitivity in specific teeth, make sure to point them out so we can check for damage and other issues. 

Once we know the cause, we can go over your treatment options. For example, if the pulp — which is the soft tissue in the middle of your teeth that consists of nerves and blood vessels — becomes infected, we may recommend a root canal to remove it. With this treatment, we drill a small hole in your tooth and remove the soft tissue. Then, we seal the tooth and place a crown on it to strengthen the tooth.

Or, if your teeth are sensitive due to gum recession, we may recommend a PerioLase® laser-assisted new attachment procedure (LANAP) or the Pinhole® surgical technique to restore gum tissue in the affected area. However, in some cases, you might just need to ease up on your teeth whitening routine, brush more delicately, or use a medicated toothpaste. 

If you’re dealing with sensitive teeth, we can help. To learn more, call 209-392-5688 or book an appointment online with Image Dental today.

Stephen Nozaki, DDS, MPH, DIDIA

Dr. Stephen Nozaki is the owner and lead dentist at Image Dental in Stockton. He is a dedicated professional born and raised in California's Central Valley. With a commitment to his community, he brings advanced dental techniques learned from extensive education and continuous training from around the world. A third-generation Japanese American, Dr. Nozaki has a rich background that includes international living and a deep passion for both dentistry and outdoor activities. His focus in dentistry aligns with his passion for cosmetics and dental implants.