Dentin is an important part of the tooth structure and is located underneath the enamel. As the dentin is the final layer before reaching the dental pulp cavity, where nerves and blood vessels are located, several problems  can occur when it is exposed by tooth decay.

Potential issues from deteriorating dentin include the following:

  • Dentinal hypersensitivity: Hypersensitivity can occur if dentin becomes exposed to stimuli within the mouth due to wear or decay. This results in sensitivity or pain, which can be severe. Often this occurs with very sharp pain, depending on progression.
  • Dentinal sclerosis: This is a condition where the dentinal tubules, which are small tubes linking the pulp to the underneath of the enamel, calcify. This weakens the tooth structure and will lead to a higher likelihood of bacteria reaching the pulp.
  • Higher risk of tooth infection: If your dentin layers deteriorate they are less capable of protecting the central pulp of the tooth from infection. Dentin issues can make the risk of complications from routine treatments – such as root canals – much higher too.

It can be worrying to deal with the issues that come from deteriorating dentin, which is why we provide a range of dental treatments for nervous patients at our Brighton and Hove-based clinic. You will see our friendly team is eager to help when you contact us for an appointment.

Types of Dentin

Human tooth structure vector diagram

There are a few different types of dentin, which dentists categorise depending on how close they are to the dental pulp. Types of dentin include:

  • Primary dentin, which dentists also call mantle dentin, that is located closest to the enamel
  • Secondary dentin, which dentists also call adventitious dentin, that surrounds the inside of the dental pulp chamber
  • Tertiary dentin, which dentists also call reparative dentin, that only forms as a reaction to issues such as cavities, teeth grinding, or other stimuli – such as a mouth injury

As dentin is softer than enamel, the problems from the dentin becoming exposed can be more pronounced. However, there are treatments for most dentin-related issues.

What is Dentin Made Of?

Dentin is formed naturally and is a material similar to the mineral hydroxyapatite, but it is also made up of some organic matter and water content.

What Colour is Dentin and What Does it Look Like?

Exposed dentin looks a bit like dental plaque. Dentin does not have the bright white appearance that enamel has; instead it is characterised by an off-white appearance with a yellow hue.

10 Treatments and Home Remedies for Stronger Dentin

Toothbrush and other mouth hygiene products

Most of the issues that can arise from exposed dentin can be helped with simple home remedies. However, there are a few professional dental treatments that can help, too. Looking after dentin is as important as looking after tooth enamel and your dental health in general.

Sometimes, such as when dentin is exposed through injury, issues are unavoidable. However, there are some home or dental chair treatments that can be used for dentin-related problems:

  1. Try mouthwashes: Brushing alone cannot reach all the nooks and crannies of the mouth. Adding mouthwash to your hygiene routine can stop enamel or dentin from deteriorating further, as well as reducing dentinal hypersensitivity symptoms.
  2. Avoid sensitivity triggers: A simple lifestyle change is avoiding sensitivity-inducing foods and drinks. Typically, hot and cold foods are the major triggers. Air flossers and flosser jets may trigger sensitivity, too, so manual flossing may be a better choice.
  3. Brush your gums: Receding gums is one of the main causes of dentin exposure, so looking after them with gentle brushing alongside your teeth can help. This can be a strange feeling at first and might cause bleeding before the gums get used to it.
  4. Stay away from sugary drinks: Sugary drinks will raise the risk of a range of dental issues, including enamel wear and dentin exposure. The best bet is to avoid your favourite sugary drinks and switch them out for sugar-free alternatives.
  5. Treat underlying issues: Sometimes issues such as acid reflux or bulimia can cause powerful acids to affect the teeth in the mouth, so treating this can stop dentin from deteriorating. Tooth grinding is another common underlying cause you can treat.
  6. Quit smoking: Much like sugary drinks, smoking raises your chances of experiencing a range of dental and other health issues. Avoiding smoking tobacco will improve your dental health and lower the risk of infection by bacteria in teeth with exposed dentin.
  7. Use a pronamel toothpaste: Special pronamel kinds of toothpaste can help to slow the effects of tooth decay and make the enamel and dentin stronger. You can try simply swapping out your current toothpaste, which can often make a big difference.
  8. Dental bonding: A dentist can use a special tooth-coloured resin to cover the dentin exposure in a tooth or teeth to prevent the symptoms. Often, this is the best choice for dentin exposure where an external injury, such as a cracked tooth, is the cause. 
  9. Gum grafts: If your dentin exposure has receding gums as the cause then a gum graft can help to restore the exposure. Gum grafts are a safe treatment that can also improve the appearance of receding gums.
  10. Root canal treatment: For severe dentin exposure, drilling the tooth and extracting the pulp before sealing it may be the only effective treatment. Preventative measures and home remedies can help avoid the need for root canals or other dental treatment.

Looking after your teeth is the best option for preventing problems, including those that affect all the layers of your teeth and the surrounding mouth tissue. As a result, a good hygiene regimen and regular checkups are essential for avoiding problems that affect tooth dentin.

A Man Having A Visit At The Dentist's

Book an Appointment for a Checkup

If you suspect you might be having problems with dentin in a tooth or teeth, such as if you are experiencing sensitivity or have recently had an injury to the mouth, then it is worth booking a checkup at our well-equipped clinic. We can solve many problems with safe, simple treatments.
Our team has more than 10 years of experience in practising dentistry and we also have many emergency treatments available for severe sensitivity and pain. We are conveniently located in the Brighton and Hove area, so please feel free to get in touch with us to book an appointment.


01273 900933


Mon – Fri: 8:30 – 18:00
Sat: By appointment only
Sun: Closed

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