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Sensitive & Sore Teeth

Sensitive and sore teeth is a common problem, that can be very unpleasant. Luckily, there are treatment options available.

Tooth decay, fractured and chipped teeth, abscesses, receding gums and poor dental care can all contribute to sore and sensitive teeth. Teeth sensitivity can come and go. It’s usually best to visit your dentist to get checked out, before it develops or becomes harder to treat. Treatment options can include avoiding particular food and drinks, using a special toothpaste and toothbrush and specialised treatments such as fillings, root canals, crowns and tooth extractions.

When to see a dentist

If in doubt, check it out.

Book an appointment to see a dentist as soon as possible if:

  • You are in pain
  • Pain lasts longer than a day or two
  • The pain is severe or unbearable
  • You have a fever, earache or pain when you open your mouth wide

Are you in pain?

Call us if you’re experiencing pain and need emergency dental care. We’ll get you in to see us fast for an urgent appointment.

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Symptoms of sensitive teeth

Often, pain or discomfort is the first sign of a deeper problem. The pain may come and go, or gradually worsen. You may notice sharp pain when you chew or increased pain when you drink hot or cold liquids. Sweet and acidic foods can also aggravate the sensitivity or soreness you're experiencing.

Sometimes, simply breathing with your mouth open, or going outside into the cold air can make the sensitivity or pain worse. Sensitivity in your teeth can mean the inner dentine layer of your tooth is exposed. This happens when the tooth's white outer layer of enamel enamel has worn away. 

Causes of sensitive teeth

Unprotected dentine is one of the biggest reasons you’ll experience tooth sensitivity. This can happen for a number of reasons. Common causes include tooth decay, receding gums, chips or cracks in your tooth and a build up of plaque. Other causes can be:

  • Acidic food, drink or mouthwash
  • Bruxism, or grinding and clenching your teeth
  • Brushing your teeth too hard
  • Some tooth whitening products

Maintain regular visits to your dentist and hygienist to help keep you on top of your oral health habits. Sometimes we can all do with a regular reminder about the best care routines for healthy teeth. 

Get prepared

When you book at one of our dental practices for sore or sensitive teeth, you just want your pain to end. That’s understandable. It’s useful to think ahead about what your dentist will need to know to diagnose and treat you.

Generally your dentist will ask you about your medical history and then thoroughly examine your mouth, teeth, gums, jaw, tongue, throat, sinuses, ears, nose and neck. You may also need an x-ray, depending on what your dentist suspects might be the cause of your problem.

Your dentist will ask you some questions about the pain, such as:

  • When did the pain start?
  • How severe is it?
  • Where do you feel sensitivity?
  • What makes it worse?
  • What makes it better?

Think about your answers to these questions before your appointment. Being prepared can speed up the diagnosis.

Have questions?

The price of treating sensitive and sore teeth varies, depending on what is causing the pain. Tooth pain can be a symptom of something serious, so we recommend that you see a dentist to check it out. Your dentist will be able to diagnose the cause and advise you about the cost of treatment. When you book online, simply select an appointment for sensitive teeth.

There can be a number of reasons why you’re experiencing sensitive teeth. Most often, it’s because the dentine, or inner layer of your tooth, is exposed. This can be caused by brushing your teeth too hard, or eating and drinking too much hot, cold, acidic or sugary food and drinks. Sometimes it's from a more serious problem with your teeth, such as tooth decay or gum disease. We recommend you book an appointment with your dentist to discuss the pain and sensitivity you're experiencing.

As with most things, prevention is better than cure. Use a soft toothbrush and maintain regular, good dental habits at home to ensure optimal oral health. Reduce your intake of acidic and sugary food and drink. Switching to a special toothpaste for sensitive teeth can help to reduce the sensitivity or soreness you’re experiencing. However, this may only mask a bigger problem, as you may have an underlying issue with your teeth than needs attention. We recommend you visit your dentist to get it checked out.

It has been reported that there are more cases of sore and sensitive teeth during spring than other months of the year. Extra pollen and dust in the air at this time of year can cause hay fever and sinus problems, which can result in sore teeth and gums. Hay fever can inflame the sinus area and this can put pressure on your teeth. The pain can be so bad that people think they have a serious dental problem. It may come down to hay fever or your sinuses, but we do recommend visiting your dentist or GP to check it out.

We get it. We’re New Zealand’s largest group of dentists so we’ve seen more scared patients than any other dental practice in the country. For most people who are scared about visiting the dentist it’s because they’ve had a bad experience in the past. Relax. Our gentle and compassionate dentists understand how you feel. Whether you’re anxious or worried about experiencing more pain or the potential cost of the treatment, the best thing to do is to let us know how you feel. Making sure you feel comfortable is part of our job.

Yes. You can greatly reduce your chances of developing sensitive teeth by taking good care of your oral health. That means a combination of at-home dental care and building a great relationship with your dentist.

We recommend daily healthy habits and regular visits to the dentist. For optimum oral health:

  • Practice good oral hygiene habits at home including brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day
  • Book hygiene visits with an oral hygienist or oral health therapist twice each year
  • Book routine exam and x-rays visits with your dentist once each year

The Lumino Dental Plan is a cost-effective way to ensure your oral health is given the priority it deserves. It’s an affordable ongoing subscription plan that keeps you on top of your oral health. We know that when you look after your oral health properly with regular preventative care, you’ll be less likely to need to see a dentist in an emergency. You’re also likely to spend less money at the dentist over time.

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