Sensitivity is the short, sharp pain experienced when eating or drinking something cold, hot, sweet, sour or spicy. This is because of exposed dentine – the inner core of the tooth surrounding the nerve. This can lead to other problems if not treated.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth?
Dentinal hypersensitivity, or tooth sensitivity, is a common dental problem. It’s a condition that can develop over time, as a result of common problems such as receding gums and enamel wear. Most sufferers are between 20 and 50 years old. Tooth sensitivity can start to happen when the softer, inner part of the tooth called ‘dentine’ becomes exposed. Dentine lies under the enamel and the gums.
Thousands of microscopic channels run through the dentine towards the centre of the tooth. Once the dentine is exposed, external triggers (such as a cold drink) can stimulate the nerves inside the tooth, resulting in the characteristic short, sharp sensation of tooth sensitivity.