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What to Do for Sensitive Teeth

If drinking cold or hot beverages hurt your teeth, then you might have teeth sensitivity. Here’s how preventative dental care in Little Rock offers you comprehensive oral care and how the right treatments can help manage the symptoms of teeth sensitivity.

What causes sensitive teeth?

Sensitivity can result from tooth root exposure or an eroded enamel. The enamel is the protective cover on your teeth that insulates them from the effects of harsh conditions, such as cold or hot beverages or even sweet treats. When the protective layer on your teeth wears off, it exposes the inner parts of your teeth to the hot or cold temperatures of your drink, causing sudden sharp pain.

Acidic and sugary foods and drinks can also wear down the enamel. Brushing too hard, using an abrasive toothbrush or toothpaste, and grinding your teeth at night can also wear it down.

Tooth cavity and gum recession diseases may also expose the roots of the teeth, which then leads to teeth sensitivity. The sensitivity of your teeth may also increase after many dental procedures, which include teeth whitening, but that should go away with time. Since other conditions may also cause discomfort and pain, your Little Rock dentist will assess the cause of your sensitivity as the first step in treating it.


Many things can trigger pain from tooth sensitivity. These include:

  • cold or hot foods and drinks
  • cold air
  • sugary foods and drinks
  • routine oral hygiene (especially the cold water involved)

How to treat sensitive teeth

If you’re experiencing sensitivity, your Arkansas dentist will conduct tests to learn the cause and extent of your symptoms. In rare cases, your dentist may also order an X-ray to find out the cause of the sensitivity. 

Once the dentist establishes the cause of your sensitivity, they’ll prescribe a treatment, some of which you can do at home. Common treatment options include:

1. Desensitizing toothpaste

This toothpaste contains special analgesic properties that help to block transmission of pain to the nerves. Desensitizing toothpaste, however, requires several applications before reducing or clearing the sensitivity. Your dentist will tell you more about choosing the best toothpaste for sensitive teeth to use as a home remedy for sensitive teeth.

2. Desensitizing or bonding the teeth

The procedure involves covering the exposed parts of the teeth with a bonding resin. Desensitizing can only be performed by a dentist, since it requires local anesthesia.

3. Fluoride gel

Fluoride treatments are sometimes used to strengthen the tooth enamel, and consequently, reduce the sensitivity. Your dentist will apply fluoride on the sensitive tooth or teeth, and prescribe fluoride medication to use at home.

4. Gum graft

Where the sensitivity results from tooth root exposure or gum recession, your dentist may recommend gum grafting. The procedure involves extracting gum tissue from unaffected areas of the mouth and surgically filling the exposed areas.

5. Root canal

This medical procedure is often recommended when other treatments for sensitive teeth don’t work. Although it’s often the last resort, it’s usually the most effective treatment for tooth sensitivity. 

Preventative measures

Preventative care with your Little Rock dentist can ensure that your sensitivity doesn’t return. Common at-home preventative measures include:

  • Using a soft toothbrush and brushing gently to avoid wearing out the enamel or exposing the teeth roots. 
  • Avoiding acidic and sugary foods and beverages that are known to wear out the tooth. For carbonated drinks, use a straw to reduce the drink’s contact with your teeth. 
  • Avoiding abrasive toothpaste and mouthwash, since these can speed up the enamel’s erosion.
  • Getting your teeth cleaned to complement your routine oral hygiene procedures.   

If the sensitivity or erosion of the enamel is caused by the grinding of the teeth, your dentist may recommend wearing a mouth guard at night.

For more information

If you’re experiencing sudden sharp pain or discomfort when eating or drinking, it may be time to visit your dentist. Contact Arkansas Family Dental today at (501) 683-8886 to schedule an appointment.

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