Effective solutions for sudden teeth sensitivity

Experiencing sudden teeth sensitivity can be both surprising and uncomfortable. Whether you're enjoying a hot coffee or a cold dessert, that sharp, sudden pain can really catch you off guard.

In this blog, we'll explore the common causes of sensitive teeth, provide actionable tips to stop sensitive teeth pain immediately and answer frequently asked questions to help you understand why this might be happening all of a sudden.

Understanding sensitive teeth

What are sensitive teeth?

Sensitive teeth occur when the underlying layer of your teeth, called dentin, becomes exposed. This usually happens due to receding gums or enamel wear. The dentin contains tiny channels that lead to the tooth's nerve centre. When exposed to certain triggers like cold or hot temperatures, these channels can convey extreme sensations directly to the nerves, resulting in pain.

The anatomy of a sensitive tooth

The anatomy of your tooth is more complex than it might seem. Beyond the hard, outer enamel and the softer, underlying dentin, your teeth also consist of a pulp, which houses blood vessels and nerves. When the protective layers of a tooth are compromised, the nerves are easily affected by thermal, mechanical, or chemical stimuli, causing the discomfort you experience as sensitivity.

Common triggers of teeth sensitivity

Understanding what triggers your teeth sensitivity is key to managing it. Common triggers include:

  • Hot foods and beverages: These can cause a sudden expansion in the tooth's structure, leading to sensitivity.
  • Cold foods and drinks: Icy drinks or cold foods may cause contraction and expose sensitive spots on your teeth.
  • Sweet or acidic foods: High sugar content or acidic foods can exacerbate tooth sensitivity by affecting the enamel.
  • Cold air: Exposure to cold air can trigger sensitivity, particularly if you breathe through your mouth.

Preventive measures and immediate relief

To manage teeth sensitivity effectively, consider these preventive measures and immediate relief options:

  • Choose the right toothpaste: Opt for toothpastes specifically formulated for sensitive teeth. These often contain potassium nitrate, which helps block the tiny tubules in the dentin.
  • Soft bristle toothbrush: Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and practise gentle brushing to avoid further enamel wear and gum recession.
  • Fluoride rinse: A fluoride mouthwash can help to reduce sensitivity by strengthening the enamel.
  • Dietary changes: Minimise acidic and sugary foods and drinks to protect your enamel from further erosion.

What can you change in your lifestyle to manage tooth sensitivity?

In addition to dental treatments and immediate relief strategies, making some lifestyle adjustments can significantly reduce the incidence of tooth sensitivity. These include:

Avoid over-brushing: Over-brushing or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can further damage sensitive teeth. Always use gentle strokes with a soft-bristled brush.

Watch your beverage temperature: Extreme temperatures can trigger tooth sensitivity. Let hot beverages cool slightly before drinking and consider using a straw for colder drinks to bypass your teeth.

Chew gum: Sugar-free gum can help to increase saliva production, which naturally helps to fortify tooth enamel by providing essential minerals that strengthen teeth and reduce sensitivity.

Stop teeth grinding: If you grind your teeth, you might be exacerbating sensitivity. Consider talking to your dentist about a mouth guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.

Professional dental treatments for persistent teeth sensitivity

If home remedies and lifestyle changes don't alleviate your pain, it might be time to consult your dentist for professional treatments:

Composite bonding

For teeth where enamel erosion is severe, your dentist might suggest bonding resin to the sensitive areas. This can shield the dentin from exposure to painful stimuli.

Surgical gum graft

If gum recession is the cause of your sensitivity, a gum graft can cover the exposed roots and reduce sensitivity.

Root canal treatment

Considered a last resort for severe and persistent tooth sensitivity that does not respond to other treatments, a root canal involves removing the tooth's pulp to eliminate the pain.

Regular dental assessments

Staying ahead of sensitivity issues with regular dental assessments can prevent them from worsening. Your dentist can detect early signs of enamel wear or gum recession and advise appropriate preventive measures. They can also recommend the best products and techniques for your specific condition.


Effectively managing sensitive teeth involves a holistic strategy that includes appropriate dental care, lifestyle modifications, and professional treatments. By identifying the causes of sensitivity and adopting effective measures to mitigate their effects, you can greatly enhance your quality of life and dine without discomfort.

Regular consultations with your dentist can help tailor these strategies to suit your specific needs. Additionally, staying informed about new treatments and products can further assist in keeping your sensitivity under control.

Frequently asked questions - teeth sensitivity

Yes, tooth sensitivity can often be reduced or go away with proper dental care and treatment, such as using desensitising toothpaste, fluoride treatments, and addressing any underlying dental issues.

Natural restoration of tooth enamel isn't possible, but you can strengthen the existing enamel by using fluoride toothpaste, consuming foods rich in calcium and phosphate, and avoiding excessive consumption of acidic foods.

If tooth sensitivity lasts longer than a few days after using desensitising products or making dietary adjustments, it's advisable to consult your dentist. Persistent sensitivity could be a sign of more serious dental issues.

Tooth pain without a visible cavity can be caused by gum disease, a cracked tooth, an exposed tooth root, or a condition called pulpitis, which is inflammation of the dental pulp.

A tooth nerve cannot "heal" itself in the traditional sense if it is damaged; however, the sensitivity may be managed or reduced with appropriate dental care and treatments.