Immense sensitivity around gum/certain teeth gone within 1 week of witching to an electric toothbrush and practicing good dental hygiene? Normal?

Feb 19, 2021

Hi, I'm having a strange time trying to figure out if this is normal or not:

Prior to this week, my dental hygiene was incredibly bad; that is, I only brushed once a day (at night), never flossed, and drank a lot of diet coke and coffee on most days. On top of that, when I did brush, I brushed incredibly hard - like if someone saw me brushing my teeth, they would likely believe me to be a psychopath

As a result of this, I had developed an immense sensitivity on the top right, top left, and bottom left areas of my gums (maybe it was my actual tooth not my gums?). Drinking cold beverages (including water) would give my gums a very strong sense of sensitivity, but this has been the case for quite a long time, and I have kind of gotten used to it. What came more recently, however, was a very sharp, shooting sensation of sensitivity whenever I brushed near those sensitive areas of my gums; it was so bad that there were some nights I couldn't handle the sensitivity because it was so immense that it manifested itself in a form that was much akin to phsyical pain. I was almost certain it was some sort of gum disease as a result of gum recession at my age of 22.

I decided last week that I was going to do my absolute best to learn about proper dental hygiene practices. I picked up an electric toothbrush, some "Arm & Hammer Sensitive Toothpaste", and a whole bunch of floss picks. I started brushing twice a day, and doing so very lightly. I also started flossing after every meal for atleast a good 5 minutes. Within a week, my teeth/gums are still quite sensitive to cold drinks(which I assume will not get better until I see a dentist and get a full cleaning - I should mention I haven't been to a dentist in about 10 years...). However, that extremely sharp shooting sensation in two of the three problem areas has disappeared completely; the last one is still a bit sensitive, but I can feel that it has also made a ton of progress.

Sorry this was so long, but feel like I needed to add some context before coming to my actual question: Is this normal?

I'm concerned that this feels "to good to be true", in that there's no way that, within a week, the kind of sensitivity/pain attributed to what I can only assume was some relatively serious gum disease/issue, could be alleviated completely within a week of switching to a more proper dental hygiene regimen. I fear that maybe this sensitivity will come back very soon, and that I only some how managed to "mask" this issue in some way.

I am happy that my teeth seem to be better now and that I can finally brush without debilitating sensitivity, though I'm concerned that my optimism may be broken in the coming weeks in a way that very well might leave me back at square one.

If anyone has faced something similar or can provide some sort of insight into what might be going on, please let me know.

Thanks in advance.

TL:DR - Used to have terrible dental hygiene, and also brushed very hard for years which likely led to some sort of gum recession and/or disease. A week ago, I started practicing good dental hygiene practices, including using an electric toothbrush, brushing twice a day, and flossing, and the sensitivity is essentially completely gone. Is it normal that I have "recovered" this quickly, or is there definitely a chance that I didn't really fix anything and that the sensitivity is likely to come back?



Verified Dentist
Jun 14, 2018
I'm glad you're improving your oral hygiene (OH). "Recovery" times and sensitivities may vary. For example, you may feel fine now and in next month or so you may experience some or more sensitivities. My advice is to see the dentist ASAP. In 10 years or more, you may have a lot of tartar (calculus) that you cannot remove. The dentist will take x-rays to check for cavities you can't see and your bone levels if you have bone damage. It is important to get regular check ups to avoid irreversible damage you cannot experience until too late.

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