Tooth Sensitivity: Causes and Treatment

Tooth sensitivity is a common problem for many patients. Patients can often feel pain when eating or drinking, biting down, or brushing and flossing their teeth. We will review multiple causes of sensitivity and how we can address sensitive teeth in our Arlington Heights, IL dental office. If you have noticed changes in your oral health or comfort of your smile, please let us know and we can help.

Treat Tooth Sensitivity in Arlington Heights, IL

Tooth Sensitivity in Arlington Heights, IL

There can be many common causes of tooth pain and sensitivity. Common reasons for tooth sensitivity may include:

Dental Erosion

Patients who have tooth damage, acid reflux, and/or consume acidic foods and beverages are more likely to develop erosion. Dental erosion occurs when the outer tooth enamel wears down. Erosion can expose dentin, the dark underlayer beneath the enamel. Many patients with worn or eroded teeth have more sensitive teeth and can feel pain when eating or drinking cold foods or beverages.

Our dental office can cover tooth damage with dental bonding, porcelain veneers, and tooth crowns. Bonding treatment uses biocompatible materials to add structure to teeth. If patients have discoloration and wear, or many teeth affected by erosion, we will recommend veneers. Dental veneers cover the front of the enamel. Tooth crowns are best for the tooth’s chewing surfaces.


Teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism) also occur when patients have temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). Injury or stress to the joints connecting the skull and jaw can lead to tooth wear. Bruxism can occur unconsciously when patients are asleep. Oftentimes, patients wake up with headaches, jaw pain, and tooth pain or sensitivity.

Wearing a custom-made nightguard can alleviate tooth pain and wear by separating the tooth. A nightguard covers the upper or lower teeth to prevent bruxism and tooth sensitivity.

Tooth Decay

A dental infection begins with bacteria that build up on the teeth and gums. Harmful bacteria feed on sugars and starches left in the mouth. As bacteria feed on food debris, they create digestive acids that eventually eat away at the enamel. Bacteria can create pits, holes, or cavities in teeth.

Patients in all stages of tooth decay can experience tooth sensitivity, even if they do not have cavities. Harmful bacteria irritate the teeth and gums and can cause patients pain and sensitivity when biting and chewing. Contacting our office for a checkup can help minimize pain and allow our team to find areas of sensitivity. We can provide a root canal and fillings to remove an infection and seal a tooth if needed. This treatment not only fills cavities but removes the source of patient’s pain.

Address tooth sensitivity at AH Smiles today. Call Dr. Brent Engelberg and his team at (847) 230-9703 or request a dental consultation today.