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Treatment Options For Tooth Sensitivity

Published date field Last Updated:

Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

It's a sensitive subject, that is — tooth sensitivity. It occurs when the dentin, the part of the tooth that covers the nerve, is exposed. The exposure can be triggered by:

  • Receding gums caused by insufficient oral hygiene
  • A hard toothbrush
  • Inappropriate brushing technique
  • Teeth grinding and clenching
  • And aging

Most likely, temperature changes, usually cold or acidic food, are causing pain and sensitivity. Fortunately, there are many solutions to treat exposed dentin to eliminate sensitivity.

How To Treat Tooth Sensitivity

If a cavity is the sensitivity culprit, a tooth restoration will help. If it’s gum disease, your dentist, dental hygienist, or specialist will be able to treat it. But if the dentin is exposed, there are various treatment options to help eliminate the sensitivity — some by you at home and others at your dentist’s office.

  • Professional Treatment Options:
    • Apply fluoride varnish to exposed areas to strengthen the enamel and dentin
    • Place highly concentrated fluoride foam or gel into a mouth tray to strengthen the enamel and dentin
    • Seal the teeth surface with a bonding agent to provide a barrier to the sensitivity
    • Cover the receding gum with a gum grafting
    • Treat the sensitivity via root canal
  • At-Home Treatment Options:
    • Chew sugarless gum to increase saliva production, which helps strengthen tooth enamel, according to the ADA
    • Limit highly acidic foods
    • Include certain foods in your diet:
      • High-protein: Poultry, eggs, and fish contain phosphorous that keeps bone and enamel healthy
      • Tea: It naturally contains fluoride, which keeps enamel strong
      • Dairy: The calcium from milk and cheese keep the enamel and the surrounding jawbone strong as well
    • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush
    • Brush up to 2 minutes twice a day with less pressure (not aggressively)
    • Change your toothpaste to one designed for sensitive teeth
    • Brush with a high fluoride concentration toothpaste to strengthen the tooth surface

Before trying any at-home treatment, you should visit your dentist to identify the cause. They can look for the signs of dentin exposure and run tests to determine what is causing the sensitivity. From there, you’ll be able to determine if you require professional or at-home treatments. And then eventually, this won’t be such a sensitive issue for you.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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