Young woman experiencing sudden tooth sensitivity after eating ice cream

09 Sep How to Treat Sudden Tooth Sensitivity and What Causes It

First of all, sudden tooth sensitivity isn’t uncommon. If you’ve ever felt a sudden pain in your mouth from a particularly cold breeze or a sip of coffee, that may be from tooth sensitivity.  

It’s important to monitor these symptoms though since sensitive teeth may also be a sign of a developing or existing cavity. 

Also known by its medical term “dentin hypersensitivity”, tooth sensitivity is exactly what it sounds like. It’s pain or discomfort in the teeth in response to certain stimuli, which is commonly hot or cold temperatures. 

We discuss the potential causes and treatment options for it below.  

Asian woman with teeth sensitivity on couch at home

Most Often Causes of Sudden Tooth Sensitivity 

The most often cause of sudden tooth sensitivity is the thinner enamel they have on their teeth. Enamel is the protective outer layer and coating of a tooth that protects it.  

If it’s worn down enough, your teeth get more sensitive and are also prone to other issues. Unfortunately, some people are just more prone to tooth sensitivity than others through genetics as well.

Aside from thin enamel being passed to you genetically, tooth sensitivity can also be caused by other factors. These include the following: 

  • Grinding teeth while sleeping – this is one of the most common causes, and can be mitigated by the use of a nightguard or mouthpiece worn each night. An underlying factor may also be stress causing you to grind your teeth more regularly. 
  • Brushing your teeth too hard – another common cause, there’s a balance to brushing effectively. You should be applying just enough pressure you can feel the bristles on your gums.  
  • Consistently eating or drinking acidic foods or drinks – all that acid in the food might not bother your stomach too much, but it will definitely wear away at your teeth. Reduce your consumption of these foods to avoid wearing away too much at your enamel. 

Effectively Treating Sudden Tooth Sensitivity 

Treating sensitive teeth really depends on the severity of your pain. For those experiencing just mild discomfort, over-the-counter pain medication will likely be enough. 

Look for toothpaste and toothbrushes for sensitive teeth. There are many good options to choose from for electric toothbrushes that have specific modes dedicated to making it easier on your teeth. Softer toothbrushes will also help. 

Switching over to these treatment options will often take about a week to truly see the effect so be patient. 

Talk to your West Kelowna dentist to find out what other options might be available if your teeth continue to hurt. 



Experiencing sudden tooth pain? Book an appointment with us today to get it treated!