Why Do I Have Sensitive Teeth?

February 3, 2021 Lakeshore Dentistry

sensitive teeth dentists in holland mi

Do you ever feel a twinge of pain while sipping coffee? How about while eating a bowl of ice cream? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, your sensitive teeth may indicate a larger underlying problem. The good news is that our dentists in Holland, MI, are ready to diagnose and treat the source of your pain.

In general, you may feel sensitivity when there’s damage to the tooth. For example, worn tooth enamel will expose the more sensitive layer of dentin beneath. This causes heat and cold to travel directly to the nerves, causing pain.

In this blog post, we’ll outline some of the main causes of tooth sensitivity. We’ll also provide you with tips for improving your oral health.

Let’s get started.

Plaque and Tartar Buildup

Your teeth may feel more sensitive if you’ve been eating a lot of sweets lately. The bacteria inside your mouth love to feed on sugar. In return, this plaque produces an acid that attacks your gums and erodes your tooth enamel.

Dental plaque is invisible. But one way to know if you have a lot of plaque buildup is to run your tongue along your teeth. If your teeth feel rough or “fuzzy,” you may have plaque buildup.

In general, we recommend limiting the sugar in your diet. We also recommend that you practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing your teeth every day. That way, you’ll be able to remove plaque before it has the chance to harden into tartar.

Too much tartar buildup will lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and other oral health issues. While you can remove plaque at home, only a dental professional will be able to remove tartar from your teeth and gums.

Receding Gums

Do you have sore, red, bleeding gums? If so, you may have gingivitis or periodontitis.

While gingivitis is reversible with good oral hygiene, periodontitis has no cure. For this reason it’s important that you schedule an appointment with our office as soon as you suspect something may be wrong with your oral health.

Once you have advanced gum disease, the gums will start to pull away from your teeth and expose the tooth roots. This can lead to tooth sensitivity to heat and cold, especially as gum disease progresses.

Learn More: How to Prevent Gum Disease →

Decayed and/or Infected Tooth

A cavity may cause your tooth to feel more sensitive. But it’s important that you see one of our dentists to diagnose the actual source of the pain. For a small cavity, our dentists will recommend a filling to restore the tooth. For a large cavity, we may recommend a dental crown or root canal.

Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

Bruxism is a medical condition that causes patients to grind or clench their teeth. Many patients are unaware that they grind their teeth at night until one of our dentists spots the warning signs. Likewise, your partner may also notice that you’re grinding your teeth at night if they hear your teeth squeak while you sleep.

Other signs of bruxism include:

  • Sensitive teeth
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Headache upon waking
  • Jaw pain or soreness upon waking
  • Unexplained drowsiness throughout the day
  • Worn tooth enamel

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with our office as soon as possible. Our dentists may recommend a custom night guard to protect your smile while you sleep.


It’s not uncommon to experience the occasional tooth sensitivity. However, you’ll need to call our office if you experience sensitive teeth for more than a couple of days. You should also take sensitive teeth more seriously if it accompanies other symptoms.

You may have sensitive teeth for a number of reasons, including:

  • Plaque and tartar buildup
  • Receding gums
  • Decayed and/or infected tooth
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)

If you experience chronic tooth sensitivity, there are many things we can do to help. For example, our dentists may recommend that you use a special toothpaste or fluoride mouth rinse to help strengthen your enamel.

Get Treatment for Sensitive Teeth

Are you struggling with sensitive teeth? If so, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of our dentists in Holland, MI. They’ll be able to determine the cause of your tooth sensitivity and help you find relief. To request an appointment, call the Lakeshore Dentistry & Implant Center at (616) 399-3946.

This blog post has been updated.