Solving Problems with Sensitive Teeth

It’s good to have a sensitive friend who knows when we are in pain.

It’s not so good to have sensitive teeth, because they can be such a pain!

If you have sensitive teeth, you know that something as simple as inhaling air against them can hurt, and let’s not even talk about what happens with ice cream or hot coffee. What can cause even the healthiest looking teeth to be so hypersensitive? The blame generally comes down to one thing: the root of your tooth has become exposed.

Layers, They’re Not Just for Haircuts

The enamel covers the portions of your tooth above the gum line. Below that is the weaker cementum, protected by your gums.
The enamel covers the portions of your tooth above the gum line. Below that is the weaker cementum, protected by your gums.

What we see when we look at our teeth, hopefully, is the outermost layer called enamel. This tough material is the hardest surface on our body. It protects the entire visible structure of our tooth. We may imagine that our tooth has this protective layer on its entire surface, but once you look under the gum line, our teeth are not protected by enamel. Are we starting to feel a bit vulnerable now?

Covering the roots of our teeth is a layer known as cementum. While enamel is tough stuff, cementum is not. Protecting the cementum is our gums, or gingival. Under the layers of enamel and cementum is the layer called dentin. Dentin isn’t as dense as enamel and it consists of many canals. The last layer of our teeth is called the pulp. The pulp is where the nerves and blood supply for the teeth are located.

That seems like a lot of layers, but really there are just three at any point – the pulp, covered by the dentin, covered by either the enamel above the gum line or the cementum under the gum line. Do you see where this is going? If our gums recede, that poor defenseless cementum is exposed and can easily wear away. Then that rush of air, that cold ice cream, that sip of hot coffee makes contact with our sensitive dentin and its little canals. That temperature change affects the nerve and all of a sudden a part of our tooth that should be protected feels pain. And we feel it too, to the point that we may come to dread air on our teeth, or that yummy lick of ice cream or that hot cup of coffee. Now that you’re aware, you probably want to protect that cementum!

Receding gums or hairlines — both are bad news!

How can we prevent our gums from receding? One of the simplest ways is to always purchase soft-bristled toothbrushes and learn proper brushing techniques. The trained staff at Carmichael’s Marconi Dental Group are happy to critique your brushing style during your routine exam. Over-brushing with a hard or even medium toothbrush is bad news for our gums. Brushing twice a day is usually sufficient. At the same time, learn to be gentle and keep your mouth happy.

Our quest for an over-the-counter remedy for stained or yellowed teeth is another reason our gums are running from us in fright. Whiter teeth is the goal and the stores are filled with do-it-yourself fixes — whitening rinses and trays and pastes of all sorts. Excessive use of these products can be bad for your teeth and gums. If you want a whiter smile, talk to the professionals at the Marconi Dental Group. You can get your pretty white smile and keep your gums healthy too, but make sure you do it the right way, at the dental office.

Our gums also recede as we get older. While we can’t push back the literal clock, we can make sure we are doing everything possible to keep our gums where they belong. Gum recession is something that will be checked on each and every dental exam, so it is very important to not assume your dental health is OK because everything looks OK.

Another common cause of gum recession is the use of tongue and lip piercings. Check out the gum line in the area of a piercing. You will easily notice that the gum in that section of the mouth has receded farther from the teeth than in other sections away from the piercing. Piercings can lead to sensitivity, decay and tooth loss as they expose the layers normally protected by the gums.

Treating Tooth Sensitivity

Sensitive teeth should not be ignored! The cause needs to be identified by your dentist. After the cause of your sensitivity is evaluated, your dentist may recommend a de-sensitizing toothpaste. These special formulas block the little canals in your dentin, typically after two weeks of consistent use. There are also prescription strength toothpastes you can try. Your dentist at the Marconi Dental Group may also apply fluoride treatments or sealing materials to lessen the sensitivity of your teeth. If your gum recession is severe, you may be a good candidate for placing a filling or bonding over the exposed area.

Something as simple as the direction you brush your teeth, the angle you use and the type of toothbrush and toothpaste you buy could be the solution to your sensitive teeth problems. Make an appointment with the Marconi Dental Group, and you could be inhaling cold air, drinking coffee and eating ice cream again with no problems! Our Carmichael dental office has a cure for tooth sensitivity!

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Dr. Fischer

Dr. Fischer comes from Sandy City Utah, where he graduated from the University of Utah with a background in Medical Biology. Dr. Fischer then was awarded his DDS degree from Loma Linda University here in California. Prior to that, Dr. Fischer worked alongside his father for several years as a design engineer at his father’s dental company. Dr. Fischer has a strong passion for dentistry, he believes in providing his patients with the most modern and up-to-date procedures, and he truly enjoys the variations of procedures he gets to perform daily.

When not practicing dentistry, he can be found spending time with his family. Dr. Fischer and his wife Brittany have twins Kaitly and Kyle, and son Johnny. Outside of his professional activities, Dr. Fischer is also a true adventurist. He has travelled to many countries and enjoys backpacking, scuba diving, para gliding, camping, and hunting just to name a few.

Headshot of Dr. Y. Vinny Huang at Marconi Dental Group

Dr. Huang

Dr. Y. Vinny Huang received his Degree in Dental Surgery in his hometown of Taipei, Taiwan and then went on to receive his Masters in Science and Postgraduate Certificate in Prosthodontics from the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA.

He has been practicing dentistry since 1992 and his area of specialty is Prosthodontics, the treatment and handling of dental and facial problems. Prosthodontics involves the restoration of missing teeth and jaw structure. Dr. Y. Vinny Huang is also a Diplomate of the (ABP) American Board of Prosthodontics and an active member of the (CDA) California Dental Association and the (AAFP) American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics, and a fellow of the (ACP) American College of Prosthodontists. He is also fluent in Mandarin!

Dr. Y. Vinny Huang was fortunate enough to find his calling at a young age. He grew up watching his grandmother struggle with her dentures on many occasions and has been determined to help others just like her ever since. He is truly passionate about his work and finds great joy in creating beautiful smiles for his patients whether it be on their own or with the help of dental implants. Dr. Y. Vinny Huang makes it his personal mission to educate his patients and community on the importance of oral health and does so with honesty, professionalism and care.

When Dr. Y. Vinny Huang isn’t practicing dentistry or assisting the community, you will find him spending time with his wife and two daughters. He also enjoys being outdoors and staying active whether it be swimming, golfing or playing tennis.

Headshot of Dr. Visage of Marconi Dental Group

Dr. Visagé

Dr. Visagé graduated his dental degree from University of Pretoria in South Africa (1999). He practiced general dentistry in South Africa and England until 2002. He went on and completed a residency program in Periodontics and Oral Medicine, in South Africa to attain his Masters degree in 2006. He established a successful private specialist practice in Periodontics and Dental Implants. During that time he also served as secretary of the South African Society of Periodontology and still holds specialist registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.


In 2014, Dr. Visagé and his family relocated to California, and he was invited to the prestigious Program for International Dentists at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). In 2015, he received the OKU Dental Honour Society Dr Kramer S Award from the UCSF School of Dentistry. In 2016 he received the Dental Honour Society Membership Award and also the Award for Clinical Excellence & Mentoring (UCSF).  He obtained his American Doctorate of Dental Surgery (UCSF) in 2016.


The most enjoyable part of his work is getting to know the patients and being able to play a role in improving oral health, which contributes to quality of life. He is truly passionate about dentistry, but strikes a balance between his professional and personal lives.  He maintains his fitness through running, biking and hiking with his family. 

Dr. Visagé and his wife Karlien, have  a  daughter and a son.  When time allows, he and his family enjoys travelling and spending time together. They travel to South Africa as often as time allows, but also enjoy road trips in the USA.