Outsource Strategies International (OSI) is an experienced hand in offering comprehensive suite of dental billing services including dental eligibility verifications, which helps practices to run practices efficiently.

In today’s podcast, Amber Darst, our Dental Insurance Coordinator, discusses the causes and treatment of tooth sensitivity.

Hey, this is Amber Darst, Solutions Manager from Managed Outsource Solutions. I’ll be talking today about tooth sensitivity solutions.

Tooth sensitivity or “dentin hypersensitivity” refers to pain or discomfort in one or more teeth as a response to certain stimuli, such as hot or cold temperatures. The pain experienced is usually sharp, sudden and shooting. The condition normally occurs when the layer of the tooth underneath the enamel called the dentin or the layer covering the root called cementum is exposed along the gum line. The exposed areas respond to hot and cold, and sometimes to very sweet and spicy foods, and trigger pain. The condition may either be temporary or a chronic problem and it can affect one tooth or several teeth. Even though the condition occurs due to different causes, in most cases this can easily be treated or prevented by incorporating serious changes in the patient’s oral hygiene regimen. Developing good oral habits and scheduling regular dental visits help people deal with the condition in a better manner. Treatment will depend on the specific factors causing the sensitivity.

01:16 Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

As mentioned above, tooth sensitiveness occurs when the dentin, a porous tissue in the teeth, becomes exposed. The dentin has microscopic channels – called tubules – which are pathways to the nerve. When dentinal tubules are exposed due to receding gum tissue or enamel loss, nerves are more easily triggered by certain stimuli causing tooth sensitivity. In certain cases, other factors like overzealous brushing, tooth decay, gum diseases, exposed tooth root, worn tooth enamel and fractured teeth can leave the dentin of the tooth exposed, causing sensitivity. People with sensitive teeth may experience pain or discomfort as a response to certain triggers. Symptoms associated with this condition may come and go over time for no obvious reason and may range from mild to intense. Common triggers include – hot / sweet/acidic foods and beverages, cold water (especially during a routine dental cleaning), brushing or flossing teeth, and alcohol-based mouth rinses.

Diagnosis of tooth sensitivity may begin with a dental examination wherein the dentists look out for potential problems like loose fillings or recessed gums that could be causing that sensitivity. Often times, mild cases of tooth sensitivity can be treated with over-the-counter dental treatments.

The problem of sensitive teeth never completely disappears as it can be caused by a number of issues. Symptoms associated with the condition may be less prominent or even seem to go away for a while. However, unless the actual reasons for sensitive teeth are diagnosed and treated properly, the problem may continue. For instance, if the sensitivity is due to a cavity, a restoration can be placed. On the other hand, if it is a gum disease that causes sensitivity, the dental professional can perform a thorough cleaning of the area.

03:16 In-office/Home Treatment

There are certain dental office procedures that a dentist may recommend for tooth sensitivity. Proper diagnosis of the reason for the sensitivity is essential in treating the problem.

Some in-office treatment procedures for sensitive teeth include surgical gum graft, root canal, fluoride varnish, fillings, or a desensitizing or bonding agent. Some home remedies or treatments for sensitive teeth would include using a soft-bristled toothbrush, making a salt water mouthwash, avoiding problematic foods and beverages and using a mouth guard at night.

CDT Codes for Sensitive Teeth Treatments
  •  D4270-Pedicle soft tissue graft
  • D4273 -Autogenous connective tissue graft procedure (including donor and recipient surgical sites) first tooth, implant, or edentulous tooth position in graft
  • D4275- Soft tissue allograft
  • D4276-Combined connective tissue and double pedicle graft, per tooth
  • D4283- Autogenous connective tissue graft procedure (including donor and recipient surgical sites)-each additional contiguous tooth, implant or edentulous tooth position in same graft site
  • D4285 -Non‐Autogenous connective tissue graft procedure (including recipient surgical site and donor material) – each additional contiguous tooth, implant or edentulous tooth position in same graft site
  • D3331 -Treatment of root canal obstruction; non-surgical access
  • D3346-Retreatment of previous root canal therapy – anterior
  • D3347- Retreatment of previous root canal therapy – bicuspid
  • D3348 -Retreatment of previous root canal therapy – molar

There are several causes that lead to sensitive teeth. Therefore, it is important to identify in advance the actual causes so that the condition can be treated successfully. Maintaining good oral hygiene and attending regular dental checkups can help prevent, slow, or stop tooth sensitivity. Taking good care of the teeth by brushing three times a day helps to get rid of bacteria and plaque formation in the teeth.

And that’s all. Thanks for listening in.