What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

San Francisco Dentist Serving San Rafael, Oakland, Berkeley &
Nearby Bay Area, California


Woman holding her cheek in response to sensitive teethThe sting of teeth sensitivity can be really uncomfortable. If sensitivity persists, there is probably an underlying dental issue that needs attention. Read below to learn more about some of the most common causes of teeth sensitivity.

Potential Culprits in Teeth Sensitivity

You may experience sensitivity when brushing, flossing, eating and/or drinking. You may notice greater sensitivity in response to hot or cold. Maybe the sensation appears on a chilly morning outside, when you breathe in the cold air. This dental problem can make it excruciating to eat or drink. And if you can't brush and floss without sensitivity, you'll have a hard time keeping your teeth and gums clean. For these reasons and simply for your overall wellness, it's important to not ignore the issue.

You may be experiencing sensitivity because of:

  • Worn teeth
  • Enamel erosion
  • Cracked teeth
  • Exposed tooth roots/gum recession
  • Tooth decay
  • Infected tooth roots
  • Teeth grinding (bruxism)

The only way to know for sure is to visit our experienced dentists. They'll want to meet with you and discuss your symptoms, then perform an evaluation and review your dental history. Once we've determined the cause, we can recommend the most effective treatment.

Treatments for Sensitive Teeth

It's impossible to say what the best treatment is without first knowing the cause; however, given some of the most common causes, effective treatments often include:

  • Toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Switching to one of these specially formulated toothpastes may help ease the sensitivity, although it could take a few weeks for it to work optimally.
  • Replacing worn and damaged restorations. Cracked fillings, crowns or other restorations could be the source of the problem.
  • Updating your brushing technique. Aggressive brushing could be causing sensitive teeth. Forceful brushing erodes the protective layer of enamel. Soft, feather-light pressure is all that is necessary.
  • Seek treatment for issues like gum recession, infected tooth pulp and broken teeth. Our experienced dentists will help with all aspects of identifying the source of teeth sensitivity. They can then provide treatment for the root cause.

Foods to Avoid or Limit in the Meantime

It's possible that certain foods are worsening the problem. If you have some amount of gum recession, then avoiding acidic foods may help you avoid discomfort:

  • Tomatoes and tomato sauce
  • Citrus fruit
  • Citrus fruit juices
  • Carbonated beverages

Ice cream may also be problematic, if your tooth sensitivity is triggered by sugar and/or cold temperatures. Hard candies or sticky candies may also exacerbate the problem.

Choosing a Dentist Who is Committed to Your Best Health

It's important to find a dentist who cares about your dental wellness. At the DENTAL STUDIO, Dr. Jarrod Cornehl and Dr. Peter Fredrickson are passionate about improving people's smiles and their dental health. At our practice, we take the time to get to know you and the issues you are dealing with. Our treatment recommendations are highly tailored to the individual. To schedule your evaluation at the DENTAL STUDIO in San Francisco, please call us at 415-392-5025. We are proud to have patients who visit us from across the Bay Area, including Oakland, Berkeley and San Rafael.