Why Do I Have Sensitive Teeth?

Sensitive Teeth Dentist Grand Rapids MI

Do you experience prolonged tooth sensitivity to heat and cold? If so, it may be worth scheduling an appointment with our dentist in East Grand Rapids, MI. There are many reasons why you could be experiencing discomfort while sipping your morning cup of coffee or indulging in a bowl of ice cream. However, only your dentist will be able to give you a proper diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan to relieve sensitive teeth.

In the meantime, here’s what you need to know about chronic tooth sensitivity and what it could mean for your dental health.

Plaque and Tartar Buildup

Plaque is an invisible film of bacteria that lives inside your mouth. These bacteria love to feed on sugar particles left behind on your teeth and gums after you eat.

For this reason, it’s important that you practice good oral hygiene at home. This means brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes at a time. You should also floss once a day to remove plaque and food particles caught between teeth.

If you neglect oral hygiene, you may notice that your teeth feel a little rough or “fuzzy.” What you’re feeling is actually plaque buildup on your teeth. In fact, you may notice it more after eating or drinking something sweet.

When left untreated, plaque will harden into tartar and can cause oral health issues, such as cavities and gum disease. While you can remove plaque at home by practicing good oral hygiene, only a dental professional will be able to remove tartar during your next teeth cleaning appointment.

Related: How Often Do I Need a Teeth Cleaning? →


You may experience sensitive teeth more if you have a cavity. That’s why it’s important that you call our office if you have persistent dental pain or discomfort. The longer you wait to see a dentist, the more time you’re giving the cavity to grow and spread to the rest of the tooth.

If you experience prolonged tooth sensitivity to heat and cold, please call our office right away. This may be a sign that the tooth is infected and that you’ll need an emergency root canal. The only way to know for sure is to schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible.

Gum Disease

Patients with gum disease may experience tooth sensitivity due to receding gums. When the gums pull away from the teeth, they may expose the roots and the layer of dentin underneath.

Dentin is made out of microscopic tubules that lead to the nerves inside your teeth. Once the dentin is exposed, heat and cold is able to travel directly to the nerves, which causes sensitivity.

Teeth Grinding and Clenching

It’s possible that you could be grinding your teeth at night and not even know it. If you’re experiencing chronic tooth sensitivity, it’s possible that you have undiagnosed bruxism. Under these circumstances, it’s best that you schedule an appointment with our East Grand Rapids dentist so you can determine your next steps for safeguarding your smile. Often, we recommend night guards for patients who grind or clench their teeth.

Request an Appointment with Dr. Elias

Dr. Richard Elias III is proud to serve as a dentist in East Grand Rapids, MI. To schedule an appointment and discover the cause of your sensitive teeth, please call our office at (616) 458-2048. You may also fill out our online contact form and someone from our team will reach out to you soon.

We are delighted to welcome you to our practice!

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