Dentin is the structure beneath the tooth enamel which contains tubules (or channels) that go directly to the nerve of the tooth. Sensitivity occurs when the dentin is exposed. For example, when you eat or drink something cold or acidic, it will travel down the tubules of the exposed dentin to the nerve, causing sharp pain or sensitivity.
One treatment for tooth sensitivity is the use of a sensitivity toothpaste (for example, Sensodyne). Put your toothpaste you are currently using aside while using Sensodyne. You want to put an inch of toothpaste on your tooth brush and brush with the Sensodyne for 2 minutes, both morning and night. Repeat for at least two weeks. Sensitivity toothpastes block the open tubules and calm the nerve of the tooth. You will gradually start to notice your teeth becoming less sensitive. Many people continue to use Sensodyne as their daily toothpaste permanently.
There are many other causes of sensitivity besides exposed dentin. If you are unsure, it is best to schedule a visit with your dentist to evaluate if other treatment is recommended.
- from Rachel P. (Dental Hygienist)