Dentist Questions Tooth Disorders

I can't fix my teeth sensitivity. What do I do?

I've been instructed to use a sensitive-teeth toothpaste by my dentist, and even after 6 months of use I've seen no difference in my tooth sensitivity. Is there something else I could do?

71 Answers

Have your dentist apply desensitizing chemicals to your teeth on a regular basis.
If your teeth are very sensitive and sensitive toothpastes are not working, there is very little you can do on your own. There are other remedies that we as dentists use. Some are topical, others seal the sensitive areas, and, in some cases, a laser is used.
You can get a graft or a filling placed where you have gum recession.
There are potentially some other treatments you could look into, however the underlying cause should be addressed. Are your gums receding, exposing more root surface, or do you clench or grind your teeth at night or during the day? Do you drink a lot of soda or, Gatorade, or have gastric reflux (excessive indigestion)? These things can also lead to increased sensitivity. Once these things are determined, you sensitivity can be treated.
Dear patient, anti sensitivity tooth pastes such as Sensodyne will not work over 3 months!!! If you read their label, you will see that it won't work after 3 months of use. You need to know the origin of your sensitivity. Sensitivity can be due to gum disease , malocclusion ( teeth don't touch each other in correct way) , or grinding and clenching. If your sensitivity due to gum disease, you should be treated for it and you need to floss on regular basis in order to aliviate sensitivity.
If it is due to bad bite, your bite should be corrected orthodontically either conventional braces or Invisalign.
If it is due to grinding and clenching, ask your dentist to make you a night guard. Usually the most common cause of sensitivity is grinding and clenching which can be prevented very easily by a night gaurd.
Hope that answers your question.
Dr. Ramona
Some tooth sensitivity can be treated with a sensitivity toothpaste. If your teeth are still sensitive there could be other problems, such as decay,bite trauma,wear, or nerve problems. It would be best to have your dentist look further into your problem to diagnose your condition.
Sensitivity is caused generally by an imbalance of the PH of the mouth. Too much acid drops the PH and the fluoride ions leave the tooth, causing sensitivity. Diet and home care changes need to be made. See your dentist for a program to resolve this.
Depending on the actual reason of your sensitivity, there are specific re-mineralizing pastes that can be applied on your teeth to recalcify and desensitize them. These are prescription strength and are available at most dental offices.
If you are still having sensitivity after trying with a sensitivity toothpaste I would make an appointment with your dentist. The issue may be receding gums and consequently your root is exposed to air and water causing the sensitivity.

Lara Bacchelli
Monitor your diet! Stay away from citrus food! Get your dental check up if it's been 6 months! Using soft tooth brush can help as well!
Thanks for the question.
There are different reasons for tooth sensitivity - receding gums, cervical defects on the teeth, caries/decay, generalized unexplained sensitivity.
In order to treat it the dentist has to diagnose first what is causing the sensitivity and try to solve the problem. Using toothpaste for sensitive teeth might not help if the reason for the sensitivity is not addressed. Try to see your dentist for an exam and X rays to verify what is causing the sensitivity. In some instances the problem can be also related to your diet - acidic diet can cause generalized tooth sensitivity.
Best of luck to you!
Sorry to hear about your issues. As tooth sensitivity can be really uncomfortable and can starts to affect your day to day life. What to eat, what to avoid. However, without a more detailed examination, it is hard for me to judge what will be the cause of your sensitivity. Is there a cavity, or just recession and generalized sensitivity. Is there any abrasion/abfrection involved. As the appropriate treatment and recommended will be different depending on your clinical condition. Please contact your dentist again to rule out other potential causes of sensitivity and go from there. Thanks
There are several ways to reduce tooth sensitivity, depending on the cause. Root canals can work in severe cases, though typically more conservative treatments would work and are worth trying first. If you have teeth whitening trays, a relief gel is available at a dentist to use in the trays. Dentists also typically have desensitizing liquids they can place on the sensitive roots of the teeth. Also, a thin layer of tooth colored composite filled material can be bonded over the sensitive areas. I hope this helps!
There are other desensitizing agents other than toothpaste that you can try. Ask your dentist about a topical agent applied in office or an at home treatment called MI Paste. If none of the topical treatments work and your dentist can localize the sensitive tooth/teeth they may be able to cover the sensitive areas with bonding. Good luck!
There may be many different reasons for your tooth sensitivity. A complete dental history and examination would be needed in order to answer your question with any degree of accuracy and to offer meaningful suggestions. Feel free to contact our office if you want to pursue this further. Thanks.
There are a couple of new OTC products for sensitive teeth. Try Crest Sensi-strips. Otherwise, your dentist may have something stronger to help.
You can use ACT fluoride rinse twice a daily to reduce sensitivity. If sensitivity decrease after using ACT fluoride rinse, you can do once daily (especially before go to sleep)
Why do you have sensitivity?
Just so you know it could be possibly due to caries( cavities) , enamel attrition/ abrasion or enamel loss due aggressive tooth brush or clenching or grinding; , chemical / citric acidic substance usage, bulimia or occlusal or bite problems or roots exposed due to gum recession or tooth trauma or combination of issues.

Depending on what the reason is for your sensitivity the remedies go accordingly.
1. If the reason is for cavities then u need to take care of the cavities.
2. If the reason is for enamel loss due to tooth brush abrasion or mechanical trauma to enamel then you need to use soft bristle toothbrush and use anti sensitivity tooth paste like sensodyne or colgate sensitive. They also make anti sensitivity mouth rinses as well over the counter from many manufacturers.
3. If the sensitivity is due to bite or occlusal related problems or something then you need to have your bite adjusted and then continued usage of anti sensitivity agents described above shall be helpful.
4. If the sensitivity is due to gum recession, abfraction lesion then you may need to have gum lifting or grafting procedures to cover the gums or else may need sometimes bondings ( similar to fillings) and bite adjustments and anti sensitivity agents shall be helpful.
5. If they are from bulimia then you may need full coverage restorations like crowns or veneers along with anti sensitivity agents.
Your dentist shall be able to diagnose the reason snd make appropriate recommendatons for you.
Hope this helps.
Devang Shah, DMD
There may be a more significant problem than just the sensitivity. You may have a bad bite. If your gums are receding and you have depressions in the teeth at the gumline, you may have a bad bite causing the sensitivity. This can be alleviated by adjusting the bite. If it is not due to a bad bite, there is a new procedure on the market using a laser to desensitize the teeth.
Tooth sensitivity can have multiple causes. The treatment depends on the cause. However, if a sensitivity tooth paste was recommended by a dentist the likely cause is gum recession. Sensitivity caused by the recession of gums can be treated very simply with a laser (laser desensitization) or a more definitive treatment called Pinhole Surgical Technique (PST).
With PST, under local anesthesia your gums can be repositioned to cover the gum recessed areas. I am one of only 2000 PST Academy graduates in the world trained by the inventor of the PST, Dr. Chao, authorized to do this procedure. I have been doing this procedure since 2014.

Kind Regards

There are many causes for tooth sensitivity. It is not possible to provide you with a reasonable answer without having had the opportunity to examine you to determine the cause of the sensitivity. Call us at 978-475-2431 and ask Joanne for an appointment. Bring any recent x-rays you have had taken, and after a thorough examination, I should be able to help you.

Thanks for asking.

Dr. Hopgood
There are toothpastes that can help with sensitivity, but if this is not an effective option for you, there are other options. Some of the options include in office treatments or other products that are used at home. The first step is to determine where the sensitivity is coming from. This is best determined by a dentist. We have many patients that have experienced sensitivity and have worked with them to provide the best option. We are more than happy to help you too!
Absolutely. We have a specialized laser that can be used to desensitize the teeth, as well as, a new product that is painted on the teeth which we have had great success with. Call the office today if you have any more questions.
Dr. Davis
Ask your dentist to prescribe a stronger sensitive tooth paste. See that may help
Having sensitive teeth is extremely common and there are several causes for this. In order to determine how to treat it, a dentist must try to identify the cause (gum recession is very common cause). Yes, toothpaste for sensitive teeth works - for most people. For those patients who find little or no relief, a combination of treatments may be needed. Combined treatments may include a bite guard (bite splint, occlusal splint, etc), application of desensitzing medication done in a dental office (this is not an over the counter treatment), replacement of metal fillings or other dental work, and/or using specialized toothpastes.
My answer is you need a dentist who can identify the cause of your sensitivity and then prescribe the appropriate treatments for you. Go have this evaluated closely.
When you brush your teeth, spit the toothpaste out but don't rinse with water afterwards. Before bedtime, place a little glob of toothpaste over the sensitivity and you may evaluate your teeth for clenching or grinding habits. An over-the-counter night guard that covers your upper arch of teeth can be purchased and use it for about a month. If you grind through it, then you will need a professionally made night guard. If you grind during the day, try to stop. Easier said then done. Or distract your habits with gum or sugarless lozenges and it may come to a daytime mouth guard on lower that is thin.
Have you tried using a soft bristle brush with sensitive toothpaste?
There are two types of characters conditions that can cause sensitivity. You should return to your dentist for a more definitive diagnosis.
Your problem could be something else. You may have deep cavity or gum recession. If you use citrus fruits a lot or lemon juice, you need to stop that.
Hope this helps.
Dr. Blourchian
The area more effective desensitization agents dentist can use in office in combination with laser desensitization usually does the trick unless there is larger issue of the cause which stops be investigated by type dental care provider. Find a clinic that can use desensitizer with laser activation which works best in case of sensitive teeth

Hope you find one
We will have to find out cause of sensitivity, if it is due recession or enamel wear or abrasion from forceful tooth brushing or cavity. Proper diagnosis has to be made looking at teeth clinically. T/t can b done accordingly
There are multiple factors that can contribute to tooth sensitivity. Some people just have more sensitive teeth than others and have to be careful what they eat, avoiding those foods that cause sensitivity. Some people have tooth sensitivity because of cavities; usually this leads to sensitivity to sweets and temperatures. Many people have sensitive root surfaces because of receding gums that expose the dentin of the root surface (generally sensitive for most people). There are other factors that could contribute to tooth sensitivity. If the cause can be identified there are procedures that can help or at least improve the sensitivity (cavities=fillings, receding gums=gum procedure).

It is difficult to say exactly what the problem is without physically taking a look at your teeth.

Hope that helps a little!
It depends upon if there is any deep fillings on your teeth or you have any gum recession or other problems. If you don't have any of underlying causes and still have sensitivity some time an in-office desensitize treatment could be helpful as well. Consult a dentist regarding desensitize treatment.
The sensitivity can be due to different factors. If you have generalized sensitivities with all your teeth, stannous fluoride can help. You can get prescription from your dentist.
Resolving your sensitivity issue really depends upon the reason your teeth are sensitive. I will assume that your dentist checked you for decay, and nerve problems. I will also assume that perhaps your gums have receeded a little bit, exposing a little of the root surface. Roots are often sensitive to cold because they are not covered by enamel. Sensodyne, or a toothpaste for sensitive teeth, often resolves the problem. (You should brush with it twice a day, and at night apply a little toothpaste to a finger and rub it into whatever teeth are sensitive and go right to sleep. Do not rinse it out so the toothpaste can work overnight.) Meantime, your dentist can try applying fluoride varnish to the sensitive teeth, or Brush & Bond. Another reason teeth may become sensitive is if you're whitening them. The stronger the whitening solution, the more likely your teeth will become sensitive. This usually goes away eventually. Call your dentist so the two of you can continue to investigate. Good luck.
Have your sensitivity evaluated mor ethoroughly by your dentist or seek another opinion. Are you grinding/clenching your teeth? What is your diet like? A "medicament stent" can be made and you can apply topical flouride or a desensitizing toothpaste in them to give yourself "desensitizing treatments
There are different reasons why a person experience teeth sensitivity. If the sensitive-teeth toothpaste is not helping you, it is important to evaluate other reasons. For example, gum recession with partial exposure on the root or dry mouth. At times, other treatments are necessary when sensitive-teeth toothpaste alone doesn't solve the problem. Consult with a dentist about other alternatives that may be helpful.
Is it a specific area or is it your entire mouth?
Sensitive teeth can be caused by the following dental issues: Worn tooth enamel from using a hard toothbrush and using a hard grip while brushing aggressively. Tooth erosion due to highly acidic foods and beverages. Tooth decay, worn leaky fillings and broken teeth that expose the dentin of your tooth. A sensitive - teeth toothpaste can be used as the most conservative way to treat the problem, when no evident problems have been seen. However, if the problem persist I'd suggest you set up a consultation with us at our Miami Beach Office: 3055310063 or Sunset: 3055962815 to discuss other solutions base in your condition.
Are there any abfractions or is the patient a heavy grinder?
If it is generalized sensitivity (i.e. Affecting all teeth) then I recommend using a combination of sensodyne toothpaste and a fluoride rinse (2x daily for 1st week , 1x day thereafter). If the sensitivity affects only one(1) tooth then I would suggest have your dentist reevaluate the condition (X-ray and clinical exam). Any sensitivity lasting more than 1 min may indicate pathology.
You may try another toothpaste or mouth wash geared for sensitive teeth. Unfortunately some people, myself included, are born with sensitive teeth that we get to deal with throughout our life. If it is too painful ultimately you may start root canals on most symptomatic teeth. Without seeing the situation it is difficult to recommend the best course of action for your specific case.
The first thing that we have to do is find out what is causing the sensitivity so we can give a solution to the cause not the consequence.

Dr. Ingrid Romero, D.M.D.
Thanks for your question. Reasons for teeth sensitivity can be various. Couple of questions I'd ask you is if ALL your teeth feel sensitive or only certain teeth.

Possible reasons may be gum receding or teeth grinding or clenching. There certainly are others but we d start with these.
Yes, there is still hope! You can request a set of custom trays be made for your teeth, similar to the bleaching trays that people use to whiten their teeth. Instead of tooth whitening gel, you can ask your dentist about desensitizing gel. One company that makes this gel is called Opalescence. Putting this gel in the tray and then wearing them for an amount of time determined by the gel manufacturer will likely help with your tooth sensitivity more than the toothpaste you have been using.

Good luck!
-Dr. Ryan Bond
There are many reasons for tooth sensitivity. Clenching (even at night) and root exposure are two common causes. The cause should be determined, that way treatment can be designed for you.
Assuming your dentist has ruled out active decay as the root cause of your sensitivity, there are definitely a couple of things you can do. Personally, I'm not a big fan of the sensitivity toothpastes as they treat the symptom, but don't treat the actual problem behind your sensitivity. For most, it comes from having exposed root tooth structure which is normally covered up by your gum tissues. While the enamel, or white part of your tooth is the best insulation and hardest substance in your body, the tooth structure that makes up your root surfaces are not as strong. They are very porous like swiss cheese so air, sweets, and other items penetrate through the tooth easily causing that sensitivity feeling. The toothpaste you are using works by plugging those pores temporarily which relieves your sensitivity. As soon as you eat, the pores are left open again, so you must continuously keep using the sensitivity toothpaste treating the symptom, but not the root cause.
A simple thing you can try is using a fluoride rinse like ACT, which you can buy over the counter. Swish with that twice daily and re-evaluate your symptoms in one week. Over
time, the extra fluoride your root surfaces are exposed to with the rinse will mix with the calcium in your saliva and help plug those root surface pores permanently. You can also use a prescription toothpaste that your dentist can prescribe that has the extra fluoride built into it as well, so you don't have to use a rinse. At the dental office, we usually have a fluoride
varnish we can apply to the teeth after your routine cleaning visit as well as some other products. If the problem is severe enough, there are gum graft procedures that may be an option or a certain type of filling material that can be applied to cover up the sensitive tooth structure.
Most of my patients tell me between the fluoride varnish treatments and the prescription toothpaste, they get a permanent relief of symptoms within 6 weeks or at least an 80% improvement. Hope that helps answer your question.
You should have a dentist do a thorough exam to rule out any pathology such as tooth decay or gum disease. If there are no underlying conditions, desensitizing treatments including fluoride trays or in-office desensitizing can be performed.
If you have been using Sensodyne for 6 months and it hasn't decreased the sensitivity, it's not likely to continue to help with your problem. You may have to return to your dentist, so he or she can run more tests to determine the cause of the sensitivity. Often, we dentists try a conservative treatment first before moving to more invasive procedures. It also helps us to rule out the cause of a dental issue by doing this.
Most likely, you have recessed gums exposing the sensitive root surface. Have that recessed areas covered by a composite filling material and almost always, the sensitivity goes away immediately.
Try a different brand of toothpaste for sensitive teeth. A different formula might be better for you. Try it for three weeks. If it helps, keep using it once a day. If not, try another brand. Your dentist may be able to help by applying desensitizing treatment or prescribing a special toothpaste.
Here's a trick to try and help with the sensitivity- sometimes an OTC sensitivity toothpaste is not strong enough, so ask your dentist for a prescription strength toothpaste. Next, once you brush with the toothpaste, do not rinse with water after (which most people do). What you want is for the toothpaste not to be washed away before it has a chance to help with the sensitivity and work on your tooth. On that note, if you have any major areas of sensitivity, you can put some toothpaste on your finger and rub it over the area and let it just sit on the tooth. I find that it helps tremendously with my patients. But make sure to always get a check-up to make sure the sensitivity isn't coming from cavities that you don't know about. Good luck!
If your tooth sensitivity is on all of your teeth, I would strongly recommend use of a prescription toothpaste called PREVIDENT. This toothpaste has higher levels of fluoride in it that can reduce tooth sensitivty. If your sensitivity is more localized, contact your dentist to evaluate what is causing it. Hope this helps!

-Dr. Levitz
You can ask your dentist for a fluoride gel and sometimes that will help, but sensitivity can be difficult to control for some people. In my practice, it is the complaint I hear the most, but it usually is not a sign of a serious problem (like decay).
Common causes are root exposure and clenching. Root exposure can happen naturally in life, but many times it is caused by aggressive brushing or excessive clenching. If your tooth brush looks 'bent and worn' after a short period of use, then you are brushing too hard and I recommend a Sonic brush. You can't brush too hard with one of those.
Also, you might ask your dentist to make you a night guard. Clenching leads to sensitivity. Ask yourself from time to time, 'are my teeth together right now?' If they are, you are clenching too much. Your teeth should never touch unless you are eating. Period. If you are clenching and you control that, your sensitivity might improve.

Good luck, Doctor Hampton
Sorry to hear about your teeth sensitivity. It depends on what is causing your sensitivity, such as exposed dentin. There is some desensitizing product that your dentist can use.  It is stronger than the toothpaste that you find over the counter.  You should talk to your dentist about it. I hope this helps.
I assume you are following any instructions your dentist gave you, such as a very soft toothbrush. Your dentist should have some desensitizing medication that can be applied.
Sometimes sensitivity can be caused by clenching or grinding your teeth. Try wearing a mouth guard while you sleep for a couple of weeks. You can find some cheap ones at the pharmacy or have your dentist make you a good one.
While there are many reasons for tooth sensitivity,  the most common cause is gum recession. If the root surface is exposed then there will be sensitivity. You should have your gums evaluated for recession. Another cause is bruxism (clenching or grinding your teeth). This can create a great deal of sensitivity due to the repetitive trauma that occurs.  Ask your significant other or someone who shares your home if they ever noticed you grinding at night. A night guard can be helpful in this situation and continues use of the night guard will decrease sensitivity. When all else fails, see your dentist and ask for a desensitizer to be placed on your teeth. Yes, they do exist! I hope this helps.

Francis C. Mecadon DMD

You should wait at least 30 minutes after eating before you brush your teeth.

Rinse out with water only after eating.

After you brush with the sensitive toothpaste, do not rinse your mouth. Simply spit out the excess toothpaste.

You should notice less sensitivity after about a week if you do not rinse out the toothpaste and allow it to work.
Using custom trays with prescription strength fluoride might help, crest makes "sensitivity strips" or possibly you could need tissue grafting. Of course, speak with your dentist to make sure something more serious isn't going on.

Let's look elsewhere.

Do you have any pain in your face, head or neck? What teeth are involved with your sensitivity?
Try MCI toothpaste.
Hello there,

You can try switching to a high fluoride toothpaste as opposed to the sensitive ones such as PreviDent 5000, which sometimes you have to ask for it from a pharmacist. Or, see if you are eating foods that are high in acid such as most fruits, some vegetables and drinks, which will make your teeth more porous and susceptible to sensitivity. Also, if you suffer from acid reflux you can ask your doctor how to manage that. Hope that helps!

Dr. Jessica Milne
You must have exposed root surfaces, caused by receding gum tissues. Seek a second opinion. In the meantime you can ask your DDS to call in proscription of clinpro 5000 tooth paste for highly sensitive teeth.
I suggest that you go back to your dentist again to have a more extended oral exam and X-ray to properly establish the most sensitive area (teeth). From the dental diagnosis following the dental exam, your dentist should be able to help you find out any signs of tooth decay, dental erosion, root caries & cementum exposure. Depending on the proper diagnosis, the dentist can then suggest possible treatment including dental fillings, root canal therapy, or dentinal desensitizing therapy using high fluoride vanishes involving multiple appointments. At home you can also try to use very high fluoride toothpaste to be applied generously at the highly sensitive areas in your mouth at least two times/day. Meanwhile try to avoid very hot or cold food as your office/home care is in progress.
How are you using the sensitive-teeth toothpaste? Sometimes it will work better if you finish brushing your teeth with your regular toothpaste, then apply the sensitive-teeth toothpaste. After brushing with that, do not rinse, but just spit it out and leave a residue on your teeth. This is very effective if you do this at the end of the day before retiring to bed
Continue to use the sensitivity toothpastes. Try not rinsing your mouth with water afterwards. Just spit after brushing and allow the toothpaste in your saliva to sit on your teeth a little longer. Also stay away from acidic foods and drinks that can cause acid erosion, leading to extra sensitivity.
Sensitivity can come from so many factors that it is hard to tell you exactly what to do. Have you had recent x-rays to make sure there are no cavities or deteriorating fillings or other restorations? If nothing shows on x-rays, there is another device called the CariVu that can sometimes reveal problems in teeth that x-rays simply can't see- such as cracks or hidden decay. You may also have areas of receded gums with portions of the roots exposed. If so, those areas may be treated with a bonding agent to seal off the exposed root and decrease sensitivity. If that's the case, the treatment may be relatively quick and easy, but often needs to be repeated. You may also be a tooth clencher and grinder, putting a lot of mechanical stress on your teeth. Something like that might be helped with some sort of bite guard.

So, as you can see, there are many possible reasons for your sensitivity, and you would need some professional consultation and diagnosis to pinpoint the cause. We usually start with sensitive toothpaste, since that takes care of the problem in the majority of the cases. But, it's nice to be special and get more involved care. Good luck with the problem and I hope that it can be cleared up soon. If you can't enjoy ice cream or coffee, life just isn't as fun...

Michael A. Conrad, DDS, PC
I normally don't recommend this, but with the limited information with this question, you may consider getting a root canal on the offending tooth. This would get rid of the nerve inside the tooth and hence the sensitivity.
Hello! There are many reasons why you might be having sensitivity. We would need to figure out the underlying cause to the sensitivity first to help reduce the sensitivity overall. I could get a better answer for you if you were to come to our Atlanta office.

Smile Forever Atlanta
2960 Hardman Ct. NE
Atlanta, GA 30305
First if there is any root exposure covering those areas with tooth colored restorations (composites) will eliminate those sensitive areas. If the root exposure is minor then painting on a fluoride varnish will act as a band-aid preventing the exposed fibers in the dentin from being stimulated.

If there is no root exposure, then having the dentist make special trays that you will wear for 15 min 2x a day containing a neutral fluoride gel, MI paste or similar will eliminate the sensitivity after about a week. Continuing to use it will prevent return of the sensitivity.

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