When you experience sensitive teeth, the first consideration should be to determine the cause of the pain since it may be difficult to differentiate between sensitive teeth or dentin hypersensitivity and a variety of other tooth pains and discomforts. Dentin or pulpal pain (caused by a noxious agent, i.e. dental caries) can be intensified by thermal change, sweet, and sour, all of which could elicit a hypersensitivity reaction as well. A differential diagnosis to rule out other conditions must be established before resorting to treatment. Diagnostic aids include history of pain, percussion and palpation tests, inspection of the teeth and surrounding tissues, thermal and electric pulp tests, and radiographic examination. Once other causes for tooth pain have been ruled out, and dentin hypersensitivity has become the established diagnosis, an individualized management strategy with suitable treatment recommendations should be developed to address your specific needs.
There are numerous treatment strategies and interventions to manage tooth sensitivity. In addition to pain control, long-term management is most successful when treatment strategies include the elimination or reduction of contributing factors. Sensitive teeth are best managed through self-care, professional care, or a combination of the two. Exposed dentin surfaces that do not elicit pain need only be monitored and treated as needed to reduce tooth decay risk. Continue reading