Dentin Hypersensitivity: Causes, Effects, Treatment and Diagnosis

Dentin Hypersensitivity: Causes, Effects, Treatment and Diagnosis

Dentin Hypersensitivity: Causes, Effects, Treatment and DiagnosisBy Dr. Premendra Goyal, Dentistry

Dental Hypersensitivity also known as dentine hypersensitivity is a sharp dental pain which lasts for a very short duration.  This short sharp pain may be as a result of the tooth being exposed to chemical changes, thermal changes, etc. At times even brushing your teeth may make you wince.

Dentin Hypersensitivity can be treated many of the easily available treatment modalities. Neglecting hypersensitivity can lead to more complications.

Here are a few things you need to know about Dentine Hypersensitivity…


In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth – the part above the gum line. Under the gum line a layer called cementum protects the tooth root. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is dentin.

Dentin is less dense than enamel and cementum and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum these tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth. Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede. The result can be hypersensitivity.

There are many causes of tooth sensitivity, including:

  • Worn tooth enamel from using a hard toothbrush or brushing too aggressively
  • Tooth erosion due to highly acidic foods and beverages
  • Tooth erosion due to bulimia or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Gum recession that leaves your root surface exposed
  • Worn fillings
  • Fractured teeth
  • Tooth Decay
  • Gum disease

Warning Signs to look for:

  1. Is the taste of ice cream or a sip of hot coffee sometimes a painful experience for you?
  2. Does brushing or flossing make you wince occasionally?
  3. Does eating sweet or sour food sometimes cause sharp pain?


Brushing properly twice daily with toothpaste that does not have high levels of abrasives, and flossing once a day, can help reduce the chance of tooth sensitivity. A diet low in acidic foods and drinks also helps prevent tooth sensitivity.


In addition to recommending toothpaste without high levels of abrasives, your dentist may prescribe an at-home, brush-on fluoride gel or a fluoride rinse, or high fluoride level toothpaste specially formulated to make your teeth less sensitive and provide extra protection against decay. Other treatments – such as fluoride varnishes – can be painted onto the teeth to provide added protection. In extreme cases dental fillings may be recommended.