Beating Tooth Sensitivity

If eating or drinking hot or cold food and drinks makes you wince in pain, Mike Allen Dental can help.

If you have strong healthy teeth, then you should be able to consume food or drink at any reasonable temperature. Sadly, not everybody has teeth in good condition and some people find eating and drinking certain things to be quite uncomfortable, to the point that even a nice cup of tea can be challenging.

There are a number of potential reasons for tooth sensitivity including where teeth have been damaged or are decayed. Where this is the case, a filling will probably be needed; possibly using a natural tooth coloured filling such as those we are pleased to provide at our Burton practice. For many people though, the problem exists due to the wearing down of the enamel on their teeth over time.

What causes enamel erosion?

Some enamel erosion can occur if you are a habitual teeth grinder. Especially where teeth overlap, it is quite possible that this habit will have worn down your teeth to some extent. For the majority of people though, enamel erosion is likely to have been caused through a diet high in acidic foods and drinks. Citrus fruits and fizzy drinks are some of the worst culprits for this and can be highly damaging, especially if you consume them regularly. Reducing your intake of these food and drink items should help you to keep tooth enamel healthy for much longer.

It is also possible to wear down the enamel through excessive brushing, so don’t ‘scrub’ your teeth hard, but brush them gently. A good way to learn how to do this, and other methods for looking after your teeth, is to discuss this on a one-to-one basis with the oral hygienist at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice.


Because, when enamel is lost, it exposes the more porous dentin layer underneath it to the extremes of temperatures, you will almost certainly notice more sensitivity. The exposure of the dentin layer allows easier access to the nerves within the tooth roots. To prevent this discomfort, there are two possible solutions you may wish to try.

Toothpastes for sensitive teeth

There are now a number of these products available and they claim to work by blocking the pain signals and preventing them from reaching the nerves as easily. For mildly sensitive teeth, this may offer some relief, although the results may not be as noticeable where the tooth sensitivity is particularly uncomfortable.

Dental veneers

A more permanent and highly effective solution to counteract enamel erosion is to replace damaged tooth enamel with porcelain veneers. This does require a dental procedure, but the results are excellent and high-quality, well-fitted veneers should last you for around ten years or more. They also have the advantage of allowing you to improve both the whiteness and general appearance of your smile as they effectively hide minor flaws such as chips and cracks of the teeth.

If you have not encountered veneers before, it may help to think of them as being similar to false fingernails in that they fit over the top of your current teeth. Unlike fingernails though, there is a preparatory procedure that is necessary to allow them to fit correctly. The procedure itself involves the removal of a very fine layer of enamel from the front of your teeth which is done using a tool called a burr. Precise impressions are then taken which will are used to produce the veneers at an external dental laboratory.

During the time that your new veneers are being produced, usually a week or so, you will be fitted with temporary veneers to protect your teeth and to avoid sensitivity in the meantime. These will be removed and replaced with your new veneers once they have been returned to our Burton practice.

Your veneers are attached using a special dental cement which bonds them securely to your teeth. Finally, we will trim and polish the veneers to enhance their natural appearance.

Your dental veneers experience

Once fitted, your veneers will remain firmly attached to your teeth. However, we do suggest that you don’t bite fingernails or similar objects as this may increase the small chance that they can become detached. You will need to continue to brush and floss your teeth as normal so that the natural parts of your teeth don’t decay.

Although this cosmetic treatment does require a little dental surgery, we firmly believe that you will feel that it has been worth it the first time that you drink a nice hot cup of tea or eat an ice cream without experiencing the discomfort of sensitivity.

If you suffer from sensitive teeth, or, if you are curious to discover how veneers can improve your smile, why not arrange to have an initial consultation with one of the dental team at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice? We will be pleased to discuss the treatment, with no obligation on the patient’s behalf to go ahead. If you would like to talk to us about veneers, or any other treatment, please call us on 01283 845345.

Mike Allen has been a practicing dentist in Burton Upon Trent for over 30 years (GDC 55931)