Teeth become sensitive for a wide variety of reasons. One example is gum recession, a condition where gums expose the underlying dentin. This allows air and changes in temperature from food or beverages to come into contact with this sensitive area of the tooth, sending uncomfortable and even shooting pains through the tooth. A number of treatments can help alleviate sensitivity, from certain toothpastes and gels to fluoride treatments, as well as procedures such as gum surgery.
If patients suffer from bruxism (excessive clenching and grinding), their teeth may also feel sensitive to changes in temperature or to pressure. Bruxism can be treated with a nightguard, often relieving sensitivity, as well.
If patients have a specific tooth that feels sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, they may require a root canal. Once of the most common symptoms of an infected tooth includes sensitivity to pressure and temperature. Root canal therapy can alleviate these symptoms and restore the patient’s comfort.
Finally, another common cause of tooth sensitivity is the overuse of whitening products. Too much whitening gel, leaving the trays in for too long, and whitening too frequently can cause acute tooth sensitivity that is not serious should go away once the patient takes a break from whitening their teeth.