Teeth Sensitivity Treatment

Does a bite of cold or hot food cause a sharp pain in your mouth? If so, you may have tooth sensitivity.


The underlying layer of your teeth, called dentin, contains tiny tubules that connect to your nerves. When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel and cementum, these tubules become exposed.

Salt Water Rinse

While brushing twice a day for two minutes and flossing once are the standard baselines for good oral health, adding a salt water rinse into your routine can make a huge difference to your mouth’s overall wellness. The rinse balances the pH levels of the mouth, creating an alkaline environment that reduces bacterial growth and prevents plaque buildup. It’s also an inexpensive and easy at-home treatment that you can use as a teeth sensitivity treatment.

Tooth sensitivity can be caused by a variety of factors. It’s often a sign of gum disease, which causes the gum tissue to break down and recede from the teeth. This exposes the dentin, which contains thousands of tiny tubules that allow stimuli such as hot or cold food to reach the nerve in the tooth. These nerves can trigger discomfort in the form of sharp zinging pain or dull aching.

The good news is that a dental expert can help you fix most causes of sensitivity. They may recommend a desensitizing toothpaste to help block the transmission of sensation from your teeth to your nerves. In addition, they can offer a variety of in-office treatments like fluoride gel or dental sealants that can help strengthen your enamel and protect your teeth from sensitivity pain. If sensitivity persists, they may even suggest a root canal or other dental procedure to resolve the problem.

Dentist Visits

Tooth sensitivity is a common dental problem that is usually caused when the enamel, which covers the outside of the tooth, begins to wear away. This exposes the dentin, which is a porous tissue in the teeth that can cause pain when exposed to hot or cold temperatures or very sweet foods. This condition can affect one or more teeth and often comes with a sharp and sudden pain that can be hard to describe.

Seeing a dentist as soon as you notice that your teeth are feeling sensitive is recommended. This will ensure that your sensitivity is not a sign of a larger oral health issue like gum disease or tooth damage that needs to be addressed. Depending on the severity of your sensitivity, you may need to schedule a full examination.

The dentist will likely recommend a treatment that depends on the cause of your sensitivity, which could include a gum graft for receding gums or a filling for a cracked tooth or worn out filling. They will also suggest changes to your diet and how you brush your teeth, including using a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoiding acidic foods and drinks.

Some people will have a genetic tendency towards having more sensitive teeth. Other times, tooth sensitivity can occur after an injury or as a result of a medical condition such as bulimia or gastric reflux.

Fluoride Treatment

A dental fluoride treatment is a popular and safe teeth whitening method that reinforces minerals in the enamel of the tooth. It prevents tooth decay by making the teeth resistant to acid attacks from bacteria in the mouth. In addition, a fluoride treatment can block exposed dentin tubules that cause sensitivity.

Tooth sensitivity is the result of worn-out enamel or when tooth roots are exposed due to gum recession or a cracked tooth. When the underlying dentin becomes exposed, stimuli like hot, cold and sweet foods or brushing can reach the nerves in the tooth and cause pain. While mild sensitivity is normal, significant sensitivity may be a symptom of a more serious issue, such as a cracked tooth, gum disease or dental caries.

If you have a history of sensitive teeth, we recommend consulting with your Boston dentist to learn more about treatments that can help. Generally, the most effective teeth sensitivity treatments involve a combination of lifestyle modifications and professional treatment. We encourage you to avoid eating or drinking highly acidic foods and beverages, which can erode enamel over time. We also recommend brushing your teeth gently with a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth or ask your hygienist about topical fluoride applications at your cleaning appointments and at home to reduce sensitivity. These changes can go a long way to help you enjoy your favorite foods without the associated pain!

Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are like raincoats for teeth, shielding them from the elements that lead to cavities. Specifically, sealants create a physical barrier to protect the deep grooves and pits in your tooth’s chewing surfaces (called fissures) from food debris and bacteria that can’t be accessed by your toothbrush. When these bacteria and leftover bits of food combine, they produce acids that can eventually eat away at the tooth and form holes called cavities.

The process for placing dental sealants is quick and painless, although your teeth will feel a little sensitive after the acidic solution used to prepare the chewing surfaces is rinsed off. Then the chewing surface is dried, and a liquid dental sealant is painted onto the tooth’s enamel and hardened with a curing light. Afterward, you can chew as normal.

Typically, children get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as they come in with grooves, or pits and fissures, because those are the teeth most at risk of developing cavities. However, adults without existing cavities or fillings can also get sealants on healthy teeth to reduce their chances of decay in the future. The sealants last for years, but they need to be reapplied periodically, usually every two to four years. Check with your dentist or hygienist about the best time to get sealants applied.