Home PageLinked In IconGooglePlus IconFacebook IconYouTube Icon              Call us at 360-574-7477

Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic Dentistry

Power Bleaching, Lightening Teeth

Porcelain Crowns, Bridges, Inlays & Veneers

Lava All-Ceramic Crowns & Bridges

Zirconia Crowns, Bridges, and Implant Posts

Digital Color Matching

Personalized Dentures, Hidden Anchors

Silver vs. Composite, Porcelain and Gold for fillings

Invisalign Orthodontics

Implant Dentistry

What is a Dental Implant?

Dental Implant Placement is easier thank you might think

Dental Implants,

Affordable Mini-Implants

Implants to Anchor Dentures

Implants to Replace Teeth

Mini Implants

What if you have your Teeth Extracted?

Healing Dentures Placed After Extractions

Advances in 3D Implant Design

General Dental FAQs
Dental Emergencies, Toothache, Swelling, Broken Teeth, Injury

Occlusal Guards for clenching and grinding

Economics of Oral Health

Oral Surgery

Sensitive Teeth, Sensitive Fillings

Acid in Food and Beverages Can Harm Your Teeth

How Often Do I Need a Cleaning?

Gum Disease & Heart Disease

Occlusal Guards for Clenching & Grinding

Information for New Patients

New Patient Information Forms (PDF)

Free Sonic Toothbrushes or Power Bleaching for New Patients

Floss to Live Longer - Really!




8615 NE Hazel Dell Avenue, Vancouver, WA  98665

(360) 574-7477


Oral Sensitivity

 Don't Wait 'til it Hurts!

Sensitive Teeth need to be carefully examined to make an accurate diagnosis.  Causes include receding gums, decay, bite problems, clenching or grinding known as bruxing, acid erosion, aggressive bleaching, gum disease, some toothpastes, and more.

Sensitive Fillings - Old fillings can get sensitive with recurrent decay and processes including corrosion, acid erosion, and wear that compromise the seal provided by the filling.  Don't wait for sensitivity to advance to a toothache to get an exam and diagnosis!  New fillings can be sensitive for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to:

  1. Inflammation of the pulp, which is the soft tissue inside the pulp chamber of a tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels, and other cells that nourish the tooth.  Simply drilling a tooth to receive a filling can irritate the pulp, and this is rather common.  We use water sprays with our drills to keep from heating the pulp up. 

  2. Removal of decay from a tooth can increase sensitivity, particularly when the decay is rather deep.  Sometimes we place medicines inside a tooth where deep decay has penetrated, hoping to soothe the pulp.  Sometimes we will place  an indirect pulp cap, best described as a layer of medicine sealing over an area of decay that is deep enough to penetrate the pulp chamber, when we would like to give a tooth without symptoms a chance to get along without root canal treatment.  Possible outcomes for this method include a tooth with sensitivity that may decline over time, a completely comfortable tooth, or a tooth that develops a toothache and needs root canal treatment anyway.

  3. The occasional tooth where a filling is too high, because patients do not always bite in their normal position after being numb with their mouth open for a while.  Always call for a post-op check if you think something feels wrong with your bite.

  4. Metal fillings can cause a "galvanic shock syndrome" if they are placed in the proximity of fillings or crowns made with dissimilar metals. A mild electronic shock can occur as you bite together and bring upper and lower teeth into contact.  This is almost always a short-lived situation, but can be somewhat uncomfortable for a couple of days.  The sensation typically stops as soon as the new metal restoration develops an oxidation layer on the surface.  Sometimes it is necessary to remove a new restoration and place a "sedative filling" for a few days to cool things down.

  5. Some practitioners feel that composite fillings are more likely to cause sensitivity, and theories include conceptual models related to minute contraction of the filling material as it sets, moisture content of the tooth structure under the filling, and different methods of sealing the tooth.  

This is not an exhaustive treatise on sensitive fillings. Please contact your dentist to address any sensitivity you experience.

Sensitive Gums can be caused be gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums, more advanced breakdown of gums called periodontitis, trauma, and more unusual conditions including lichen planus, allergies and many more.  Once again, an exam is necessary to provide a diagnosis and treatment recommendations.


Appointments & Hours


Office Directions

Reviews from Patients

Portrait of Keith W. Collins, DMD

Keith Collins,  DMD

Dr. Collins graduated from Oregon Health Sciences University in 1978.  In addition to caring for patients in private practice, he has enjoyed lecturing and contributing to dental journals.  In 1995 he co-directed the AAID Implant Maxi-Course at OHSU. 


Click here for more info on Dr. Collins.


Click here to "Meet Dr. Collins" on YouTube.


Click here to see Dr. Collins work with the American Dental Association and the Partnership for a Drug Free America on YouTube. 


Click here to see the meth mouth story Dr. Collins produced with Inside Edition.


The information provided on this site is to help educate patients, and is not intended as a guide for self-diagnosis or treatment.  Please rely on your dentist for diagnosis and treatment of oral conditions.


Dental Humor & Anecdotes


Send mail to with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright 1995-2013, Keith W. Collins, DMD    Last modified: October 31, 2014.