What to Do When One or More Teeth Are Extra Sensitive to the Cold

What to Do When One or More Teeth Are Extra Sensitive to the Cold

Why Is My Tooth Sensitive to Cold?

When you gulp down an ice-filled glass of orange juice or take a bite out of a scoop of that delicious sorbet, you might notice a pang of pain in one or more teeth. About 57% of adults aged 20–50 report some oral sensitivity to cold. If you find that you often avoid chilly drinks because you anticipate certain pain, you might have overly sensitive teeth and you might want to act now.

The degree of tolerance and aching will vary with each individual. The discomfort can be dull, sharp, sudden, lingering, or quick. If the hurt lasts for only a few seconds, immediately after exposure to cold, the problem is unlikely to be serious. If the pain continues for half a minute or more, it could be a cause for concern. If a throbbing persists for several days, do not ignore the symptoms. Your body is telling you something needs attention. Listen. Get in touch with Emergency Dental Chicago before the nuisance becomes constant and unbearable agony.

Possible Reasons Why Your Teeth Are Sensitive to the Cold

The tooth is made of enamel, dentin, and cementum at the outer layers. In the center is the pulp,  a complex system of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues. Fluid-filled pathways called dentinal tubules run throughout and respond to external stimuli like the cold. 

The main cause of tooth sensitivity is root or nerve exposure when the protective surface is compromised. In any of these cases, please make an appointment or contact a dentist for emergency dental services:

Tooth decay – the erosion of the tooth’s surface can be a result of cavity-producing bacteria, acidic foods and beverages, acid reflux, or bulimia. If the deterioration is deep enough the damage can cause increased sensitivity. 

Gum Disease – the plaque buildup at the gum line can cause gaps that leave the tissue vulnerable to cold.

Brushing too hard – excess pressure on teeth or cleaning with a hard bristle can gradually wear away the tooth enamel.

Bruxism - teeth grinding and clenching can chip the tooth, exposing the nerves. 

Receding gums - shrinking gums, from disease or age, pull away from your teeth and can uncover the roots. 

Cracks in the teeth - fissures and fractures in the tooth can extend to the pulp causing cold sensitivity. 

Impaired Fillings - when a filling breaks, gets loose or falls out, you may experience sensitivity from exposed pulp or bacteria entering the opening.

Overzealous product use - using abrasive toothpaste and overusing tooth whitening treatments can cause irreversible damage to your tooth enamel.

Abscess - a tooth infection can heighten tooth sensitivity.

Recent dental procedures- processes like deep scaling or preparing a tooth prepared for a crown, can agitate the nerves causing temporary sensitivity temperatures.

Diet - acidic foods and beverages can eat at the layers of your teeth. Sweet and sour foods can also be aggravating.

More Serious Problems

Sometimes, severe tooth sensitivity is a sign of a serious or pending dental emergency that requires immediate care. Contact a walk-in dentist right away if you notice visible damage on any of your teeth.

If you are suffering from just one tooth sensitive to cold, or one of your teeth is a different color than the rest, it could indicate a possible infection in the tooth’s pulp. If you notice any other maladies like injury or pus and redness of the gums, you might require same-day emergency dental treatment, therapy, and restorations.

In most cases, a sensitive tooth will not need Emergency Dental Care. You can wait a few days or even a few weeks without visiting an emergency dentist if the pain is mild and you don’t observe concurrent problems. Try, first, to relieve any minor tenderness with a few lifestyle changes.

At-home Tooth Sensitivity Solutions

If you’re experiencing mild sensitivity to the cold, you can attempt to make adjustments to your daily routine to reduce the discomfort before resorting to Emergency Dental Services:

  • Use a straw to prevent cold liquids from touching the teeth when drinking.
  • Lessen the consumption of acidic foods
  • Change your old, stiff, or hard-bristled toothbrush for gentler, softer ones.
  • Choose a toothpaste with ingredients that desensitizes the tooth by sealing off the dentin tubules. It might take a few weeks of consistent use to notice results.
  • Don’t brush too aggressively.
  • Avoid cold, sugary, or acidic foods and drinks. Instead, consume more proteins and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. Sip on lukewarm green or black tea, or chew sugarless gum to encourage saliva that helps to wash away harmful bacteria.
  • Relax your jaw or use a fitted splint or a mouth guard to diminish damage from grinding.
  • Take a break from bleaching and abrasive treatments.
  • Change your mouthwashes. Some have chemicals that are harsh on the teeth.
  • Maintain excellent oral hygiene by brushing and flossing daily to keep your teeth and gums strong and resilient.

Professional Solutions

If your dental sensitivity doesn’t improve after attempts at home, contact a dentist about professional treatments for a tooth emergency:

Fluoride therapy - Carboxymethyl cellulose, hydroxyethyl cellulose, polyethylene glycol, or silver diamine fluoride is used in-office to decrease dental sensitivity.

Root canal - if sensitivity is a result of severe damage or toth decay, the dentist might have to perform an advanced restorative dental treatment to remove, disinfect, and refill the damaged nerve and pulp tissue.

Gum grafts - if gum disease and receding soft tissue are exposing the root, a specialist will surgically replace the tissue to cover and protect the nerves.

Dental restorations - the dentist will perform any repairs to cracks, chips, or cavities, sealing any hollows that leave the pulp susceptible.

To combat sensitivity to the cold, check in with your dental professional regularly and as often as needed for an evaluation, cleaning, and consultation on how to maintain healthy teeth and gums.



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