Frequently Asked Questions
Do your teeth twinge when you eat or drink certain foods? Do you
suffer from painful teeth due to tooth sensitivity? Is your
sensitivity a daily problem or perhaps just an occasional
annoyance? Chances are you have "dentine hypersensitivity", another
name for sensitive teeth.
Sensitivity is a common dental problem. It's not
a disease, but rather a condition that develops over time due to
common factors such as receding gums and tooth grinding. Most
sufferers are between 20 and 50 years old.
Tooth Sensitivity FAQs
What is tooth sensitivity? [+]
Sensitivity occurs when the dentine underneath the tooth enamel
becomes exposed. When exposed dentine comes in contact with hot or
cold, sweet, sour or even your toothbrush, it can trigger the nerve
causing a short, sharp pain.
See "About Sensitive Teeth."
What causes sensitive teeth? [+]
Underneath the tooth's protective enamel coating is a highly
porous layer called "dentine." Thousands of microscopic tubules run
through the dentine. Once dentine is exposed, nerves within
the dentine tubules can become susceptible to triggers such as cold
food or drinks and respond with a short sharp pain.
Causes Sensitive Teeth?"
How can I prevent sensitive teeth? [+]
Brushing with a sensitivity toothpaste such as Sensodyne is one
way to protect against sensitivity. Another is to avoid brushing
too hard and to use a soft-bristled toothbrush specially designed
for sensitive teeth. Taking good care of your teeth and seeing your
dentist regularly can also help protect against conditions that
contribute to sensitivity, such as gum disease, tooth decay and gum
See "Preventing Sensitivity."
What triggers sensitive teeth? [+]
Sensitive teeth can be caused by gum recession, loss of enamel
or damage to teeth and gums. Temporary sensitivity can be caused by
cosmetic professional or at-home whitening treatments. Sensitive
teeth can hurt as a reaction to:
- Cold foods or beverages
- Hot foods or beverages
- Sweet or sour (acidic) foods
- Plaque and bacteria
- Chemical stimulus
- Dry mouth
See "Sensitivity Triggers."
Is tooth sensitivity a common dental problem? [+]
Yes. Sensitive teeth affect 1 in 3 Canadians and can start at
any time. Sensitive teeth may affect younger people as a result of
changes in modern lifestyles and eating habits. As we consume more
acidic food and drinks and snack more often during the day, we are
more at risk of developing sensitive teeth.
Can tooth whitening cause sensitivity? [+]
Tooth whitening treatments are becoming increasingly popular.
Typically, the ingredients in the products used for whitening are
hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These are usually
administered through a specially made tray (similar to a
gum-shield). As the whitening agent is broken down, oxygen gets
into the enamel on the teeth and the tooth colour is made lighter.
Tooth sensitivity is widely recognized as being associated with
tooth bleaching procedures. There is no exact science to predicting
if you will experience sensitivity but reports suggest that up to
80% of patients using bleaching will experience some sensitivity.
Be sure to discuss this with your dentist prior to any
See "Whitening Treatments
What are ‘vulnerable’ areas? [+]
Under the protective tooth enamel is dentine, a porous structure
consisting of millions of tiny channels called tubules that run
through the tooth to the centre containing nerves. Dentine is
covered by enamel or by gum and - in a healthy mouth - shouldn't be
exposed. Most people get exposed dentine through recession of the
gums or through erosion, or due to a combination of both. When the
dentine becomes exposed it creates vulnerable and sensitive
Once exposed, changes in temperature brought on by hot and cold
foods and drinks cause the fluid in these tiny pores to expand and
contract. This process can irritate the nerve and bring on the pain
of sensitive teeth. The sensation can range from a small twinge to
a more severe shooting pain.
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Sensodyne Product FAQs
How does Sensodyne work? [+]
Sensodyne's potassium formulations (Base Sensodyne Products)
work at the source of the pain by blocking pain signals from the
nerve. In other words, Sensodyne depolarizes the nerve. Dentists
recommend using Sensodyne twice a day just as you would use your
Sensodyne toothpastes work with active ingredients such as
NovaMin® (Repair and Protect) or
strontium acetate (Rapid Relief) to relieve the pain of
sensitive teeth. Sensodyne Repair & Protect has advanced
patented NovaMin® technology, which is scientifically proven to
repair sensitive teeth by forming a tooth-like layer over exposed
dentine to help continually repair and protect sensitive areas. It
actually seeks out and repairs vulnerable areas that cause the
occasional twinges of sensitivity. Sensodyne Rapid Relief
contains strontium acetate, which is an element similar to calcium.
The strontium in Sensodyne Rapid Relief replaces some of the
calcium lost from the dentine and blocks the exposed tubules within
the dentinal tissue. This prevents the flow of the fluid within the
tubules that would otherwise cause tooth pain.
How long will I use Sensodyne before I notice less sensitivity? [+]
Sensodyne should be used twice a
day, every day to ensure maximum effectiveness. With most Sensodyne
products, you should start to notice a difference in as little as
two weeks. For fast relief, you can use Sensodyne Rapid
Relief, which works in 60 seconds when used as directed. Your
dental professional is likely to recommend that you use Sensodyne as your regular everyday
toothpaste because tooth sensitivity is frequently a recurring
Is Sensodyne safe to use during tooth-whitening treatments? [+]
Yes. Research has shown that using Sensodyne two weeks before
and during the whitening process can significantly:
- Reduce the chances that tooth sensitivity will develop.
- Increase "sensitivity-free" days.
- Improve overall satisfaction with the whitening process.
What is Sensodyne iso-active? [+]
iso-active® foaming gel is a unique technology in
toothpaste. Its delivery system disperses the toothpaste
quickly, penetrating those critical, hard-to-reach areas of the
iso-active® is delivered in a canister format, and its
gel-to-foam action is a result of the inclusion of isopentane.
Isopentane responds to increases in temperature caused by the
warmth of the mouth. The active gel is stored in a special internal
bag inside the can, known as "bag on valve" technology. When the
can's nozzle is pressed, the pressure forces the gel out of the
can. In the warmth of the mouth during brushing, the gel transforms
into an active micro-fine foam, generating twice the foam volume as
ordinary toothpaste and penetrating hard-to-reach places.
Is isopentane safe to use in a toothpaste? [+]
Isopentane is a common ingredient used safely in a range of
health and beauty products, including body wash and shaving gels
produced by some of the world's leading global brands. Scientific
evidence and experience of use of isopentane in a range of personal
care products around the globe all support the safety and
effectiveness of isopentane when used as indicated.
How does Sensodyne Repair & Protect work? [+]
Sensodyne Repair & Protect is a product that can
actually repair the sensitive areas of your teeth. It contains
advanced NovaMin technology, originally developed for bone repair
and currently used in a variety of professional dental products.
This technology has now been adapted for use in daily toothpaste to
seek out and help repair sensitive teeth that can cause those
sudden, unexpected twinges of sensitivity.
What is NOVAMIN®? [+]
NOVAMIN® is made from elements naturally found in healthy teeth and
bone: Calcium; Phosphate; and Sodium. NOVAMIN® particles start to
react when they come into contact with water or saliva, charge and
become attracted to areas where dentine is exposed.
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