Have you ever taken swig of a cold drink and found yourself in excruciating pain? That happens because your tooth is sensitive to cold, which is a common dental issue. More than 40 million American adults suffer from sensitive teeth, and you may be one of them. Keep reading to find out what to do if your problem is tooth sensitive to cold.
Why Is My Tooth Sensitive to Cold?
There can be many different reasons why you have sensitive teeth. Here are some of the most common factors leading to tooth sensitive to cold.
1. Exposed Roots
You’re more likely to have sensitive teeth if the root structure of your teeth is exposed. The layer underneath your gum tissue contains millions of tubules. Each of these tiny tubes is connected to a nerve ending. Issues like enamel erosion and gum recession will leave these tubules exposed, and that will make your teeth sensitive to cold.
2. Aggressive Brushing
If you brush aggressively, you may end up damaging your teeth. Harsh strokes will affect the gum tissue and the tooth’s enamel layer, exposing tiny tubules and making your teeth sensitive to cold. Excessive use of tooth-whitening agents may also irritate dentin. These agents contain harsh ingredients to get rid of stains but they can also be quite harsh on enamel layer and expose tubules.
3. Too Much Acid
Tea, sodas, wine, coffee, juices tomatoes and citrus fruits come with a high acid level that can accelerate enamel erosion and lead to tooth sensitivity. Certain OTC mouthwashes also contain acids and can worsen tooth sensitivity. If you already have exposed dentin, your mouthwash will make things worse and make your tooth sensitive to cold.
4. Gum-Related Problem
Even when in its earliest stages as gingivitis, gum disease can always lead to tooth sensitivity. A buildup of bacterial plaque is equally damaging for the gums and supporting bone, and even lowers your pain threshold. You may end up dealing with cold sensitivity due to receded or receding gums. This usually happens when your tooth is not attached to the gum. Eventually, gum pulls away from the tooth and expose your root surface, making your tooth sensitive to cold.
5. Teeth Grinding
Clenching or grinding your teeth often leads to tooth sensitivity. The habit of grinding your teeth is referred to as parafunctional habits which can be extremely damaging for your teeth. You may even lose tooth structure on the biting surfaces. With consistent damage, the dentin will be exposed causing temperature sensitivity. Your teeth may end up being traumatized because you can generate more than 500lbs of force when clenching and grinding your teeth. Regular clenching and bruxism can also lead to muscle tenderness, premature tooth loss and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) symptoms.
6. Broken Teeth
You may experience cold sensitivity if you have a broken tooth or have lost part of a filling. You experience this heightened sensitivity because you have exposed the structure of your tooth. You may experience severe toothache if a break is severe enough to expose the nerve.
7. Dental Procedures
You may be facing issues related to tooth sensitivity mainly due to the placement of large fillings, restorations or crowns. The methods used in these placements involve cutting vital tissue, which can traumatize the nerve. That is why you are more likely to experience cold sensitivity in a recently restored tooth. A bite adjustment procedure will help resolve the issue, so be sure to revisit your dentist if your recently restored tooth feels sensitive to temperatures.
8. Acute Pulpitis
The condition refers to the inflammation of the dental nerve. Tooth sensitive to cold is one of its symptoms, but you will experience other symptoms like severe pain. You usually need root canal therapy to fix the issue.
How to Deal With Tooth Sensitive to Cold
Now that you know that there are so many reasons for your tooth sensitivity, it is equally important to understand how to correct prevent this issue.
- The simplest way is to use desensitizing toothpaste. These toothpastes help a lot in relieving pain associated with sensitive teeth. And always use a toothbrush with soft bristles.
- Your dentist may consider applying fluoride to your sensitive teeth to strengthen its enamel, which in turn will reduce pain. You may also have to use prescription fluoride at home.
- Your dentist may help resolve the issue by applying bonding resin to exposed teeth surfaces. The procedure will be done under local anesthesia.
- If your tooth sensitivity is due to lost gum tissue, your dental surgeon may consider taking a small amount of gum tissue from elsewhere in your mouth to fix the affected site. This will reduce sensitivity to a great extent.
- If your tooth has become extremely sensitive to cold and causes severe pain, you may have to go for a root canal treatment.