Dental Tips Blog


3 Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity and What You Can Do to Help

Posted in Teeth Whitening

Sensitive teeth can mean a lot of different things, starting with discomfort. If the sensitivity happens on a frequent basis, you probably already avoid some of your favorite foods, chewing in certain parts of your mouth, or use oral care products to help. Here are 3 common causes of tooth sensitivity and steps you can take to eliminate them:

Whitening Toothpastes

Over the counter whitening toothpastes dominate the majority of toothpastes sold in stores. Even if you aren’t buying it on purpose, chances are you may have picked up a tube that is formulated for whitening. Since whitening toothpastes open the pores of your tooth enamel, they typically cause some type of sensitivity after using it for an extended period of time. Avoid this type of toothpaste or use one formulated for sensitivity. 

Gum Recession

Receded gumlines will expose the root surfaces, which leaves nerve fibers exposed to external stimuli. Recession can be caused by gum disease, brushing too hard, or even aggressive orthodontic treatment. Thankfully these areas can be covered either through composite bonding or gingival grafting. Fluoride varnish may also help. Your dentist can recommend the most appropriate method for your smile needs.


Tooth decay or abscessed teeth can cause sensitivity at random periods of time, when you chew on certain teeth or eat certain types of foods. The type of sensitivity that is present will depend on what is actually wrong with your tooth. A quick exam and x-ray usually provide fast answers. 

Of course, there are other common causes of tooth sensitivity, such as sinus infections, existing restorations and even gum disease. If your sensitivity lasts for more than a week without improvement, it’s time to see your dentist right away.

Posted on behalf of :
Prime Dental Care
417 Wall St
Princeton, NJ 08540
(609) 651-8618


Recession and Sensitivity

Posted in Teeth Whitening

Receded gums are one of the leading causes of tooth sensitivity. That’s because gums typically cover the roots of the teeth, but when recession occurs, the roots are left exposed to external stimuli. Unlike the crowns of teeth, roots are not covered by enamel. Instead, they are primarily made up of dentin, a structure that is more porous and contains nerve endings that are more sensitive than enamel is.

Gums can recede when toothbrushing is too aggressive, bristles are too stiff, tobacco use, teeth are misaligned, gum disease is present, or when someone grinds their teeth on a regular basis. This leaves a small area next to the crown of the tooth exposed as gum tissue gradually creeps away. Even one or two millimeters of gum recession is enough to cause significant tooth sensitivity. Most people notice it when they brush their teeth, drink cold beverages, or use teeth whitening products.

If sensitivity is minor, using a sensitivity toothpaste can help block the pores of the root surface and eliminate hypersensitivity during normal activities. Severe recession may require bonding being placed over the root, or even gingival grafting to re-cover the area where gum tissue is missing. If symptoms persist or become more severe, then other problems may be present, such as a cracked tooth, gum disease or tooth decay. Mild to moderate sensitivity can also be treated every 3-6 months by your dentist placing a fluoride varnish on the area to serve as a desensitizer.

Regular dental check-ups can catch areas of recession early, preventing them from becoming more severe. In rare circumstances, severe gum recession can also lead to tooth loss.

Posted on behalf of Dr. James C. Kincaid



Gum Recession

Posted in Gum Disease

Receded gums are gums that have crept down the surface of the teeth, exposing the root surface. The teeth appear longer than normal, with the yellowish portion of the tooth root exposed.

It’s also common for moderate to severe tooth sensitivity to be associated with gum recession. This is because gums were designed to cover the root surfaces, which house nerve endings that are very sensitive to the outside environment. Sensitivity can be reduced by using supplemental fluoride or using a sensitivity prevention toothpaste. These toothpastes help block the pores of the teeth and are most efficient after about 2 weeks of use.

When recession is severe, it may be necessary to treat the area with gum recontouring or a gum graft. This takes gum tissue from another part of the mouth and drapes it over the exposed root, where it is affixed to the surrounding tissue. The graft helps stabilize the tooth while preventing outside factors from causing sensitivity.

If recession is severe enough, it can place your tooth at an increased risk for loss. When gums recede it also shows that there is no bone structure in that area. Bone is necessary for tooth stabilization and health. Severe bone loss typically is associated with gum disease, tooth mobility and tooth loss.

Recession can occur due to aggressive tooth brushing, smokeless tobacco use, orthodontic therapy or gum disease. Perhaps you’re beginning to notice the development or receded gums along specific teeth, or in a generalized area. Have your dentist evaluate it earlier on to help you omit the cause, and treat the area if necessary. Catching it early on is the best way to prevent severe recession later on.


Gum Grafting

Posted in Gum Disease

Do you suffer from gum recession, or areas of increased tooth sensitivity? If your gums do not cover your teeth adequately, it can leave a portion of your tooth exposed that isn’t meant to be. This area is called dentin, and dentin is typically covered by the gums and tooth enamel. When dentin is exposed, it can place the tooth at an increased risk for gum disease and tooth sensitivity.

Recession is typically caused by:

  • Abrasive toothbrushing
  • Tobacco use
  • Gum disease
  • Crowded teeth
  • Overzealous orthodontic treatments

Because dentin is porous, it makes the tooth very sensitive to what is on the outside. Simple cool drinks may send shocking jolts through straight to the nerve. While sensitivity toothpaste can help alleviate some of the problems with sensitivity, they do not protect the structural stability of the tooth which as been lost. If recession progresses severely, it can lead to tooth loss and replacement of the missing teeth with dental implants, a bridge, or dentures.

Unfortunately, receded gums do not repair themselves. Gum grafting allows patients to have these severe recession areas covered with new gum tissue, protecting the tooth surface as well as improving the stability of the tooth. This is especially important for patients that have localized areas of severe gum disease and are at risk of losing the tooth.

To perform gingival grafting, a piece of donor tissue is taken from another site in the patient’s body (such as the roof of the mouth), or from a tissue bank. The tissue is then placed within a small pocket just under the patient’s natural gumline, and blanketed around the tooth into the desired position. Depending on the type of graft needed, it may or may not require sutures or dressings during the healing period.

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