ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Sensitive Teeth - What You Need To Know

Updated on August 8, 2010

When everything is perfect, your teeth are covered by a protective layer. The roots are covered by bone and gums, and the tooth above the gum line is covered by enamel. 

But when the protective covering is breached – e.g. by tooth decay, acid erosion, toothbrush abrasion or by the gums receding – the underlying layers are exposed. And that hurts.

In the centre of each tooth is the pulp, which contains the nerves and blood vessels. Between this and the outer protective covering is the dentine. Dentine is made up of thousands of tiny tubes (tubules) radiating out from the pulp. These tubules are not sealed at either end. They contain fluid which moves when exposed to heat, cold or sugar. This movement stimulates the nerves in the pulp, causing pain.

If you have sensitive teeth, you need to take the following steps:

  1. Find out what is causing the problem – tooth decay, a cracked tooth, gum recession, erosion or whatever. All of these require treatment or the problem will get worse – so don’t be tempted just to ease the sensitivity. You need to tell your dentist that you have a sensitive tooth or teeth so that the cause can be accurately diagnosed and appropriately treated.
  2. When a stable situation has been achieved with no active destruction taking place, you may be left with some residual sensitivity from uncovered dentine tubules. This is where sensitive toothpastes come in. The older types of sensitive toothpastes contain chemicals such as potassium citrate to soothe the nerves in the pulp. You need to use these regularly for a few weeks to get a result. 

The newer sensitive toothpastes, like Colgate Sensitive Pro Relief, achieve a more immediate effect by sealing the end of the dentine tubules. The benefit will increase with continued use. 

Of course you don’t have to have your teeth checked before you start using a sensitive toothpaste but the worry is that, if you’re not having any discomfort, you might not bother to see the dentist and an developing problem will get worse – eventually to the point where the tooth is no longer saveable.

It’s a good rule always to treat pain as a warning signal. Of course you want to get rid of it but you also need to find out WHY it is there.

For practical advice on how to keep your teeth healthy, comfortable and beautiful for life, check out Watch Your Mouth, an Owner's Manual

Tom Nolan is a dentist with over 30 years experience in all branches of cosmetic and general dentistry. He is The Dentist in Town



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)