Why is My Tooth Sensitive to Cold?

dentures vs. dental implants
Dentures vs. Dental Implants: What is Right for You?
August 21, 2023
how to keep your teeth healthy
How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy
September 24, 2023
dentures vs. dental implants
Dentures vs. Dental Implants: What is Right for You?
August 21, 2023
how to keep your teeth healthy
How to Keep Your Teeth Healthy
September 24, 2023
Show all

Why is My Tooth Sensitive to Cold?

why is my tooth sensitive to cold

You should not feel tooth pain when eating ice cream or drinking cold drinks. If you do, you likely have sensitivity to temperature in one or more teeth. New sensitivity indicates a change in your dental health. Your dentist can help you uncover the answer to your question, ‘Why is my tooth sensitive to cold?’ and guide you on resolving the issue from the source.”

Causes and Treatments of Tooth Sensitivity to Cold

Why you have new sensitivity to temperatures depends on whether the issue affects one or all of your teeth. Your dentist will ask you about the location of your sensitivity and examine your teeth to uncover the reason behind your discomfort. Only after knowing why you have tooth sensitivity will your dentist be able to treat the problem properly.

Worn Enamel

Your tooth enamel provides a solid protective barrier for the more delicate dentin inside your teeth. Worn enamel exposes the dentin, which has tiny tubes between the dentin and the tooth nerve. Without enamel to cover them, these tubules act as pathways to deliver heat and cold sensations directly to your tooth nerve and root, causing pain.

You can wear down enamel by brushing too hard, using a toothbrush with tough bristles, and drinking too many acidic drinks. Unfortunately, lost enamel cannot grow back. 

However, your dentist may have ways to help by helping existing enamel remineralize and strengthen or covering your affected teeth with veneers, crowns, or bonding to protect them from sensitivity.

Worn or Damaged Dental Fillings or Crowns

Damaged fillings or missing crowns also expose your nerves to temperatures. Just as worn enamel allows temperature extremes to reach your tooth nerve, so does a damaged filling.

If you lose or crack a filling or crown, you need your dentist to replace it. Don’t wait too long because your tooth could sustain new damage from the missing filling or crown. Plus, the longer you wait, the longer you will suffer from temperature sensitivity.

Tooth Decay

New pain in a tooth, such as sensitivity to cold, can indicate a developing cavity. Depending on the depth of the decay, you may need a filling or a root canal. However, if you wait too long, you’ll increase the chances that your dentist cannot save the tooth and will need to pull it.

Both fillings and root canal therapy are painless treatment options that help you to avoid future pain and tooth loss.

Cracked Tooth

Cracked teeth can expose the root and nerve to external stimuli, such as temperature extremes. In some cases, you may not even see if you have a cracked tooth because the crack is below the gum line or the tooth is in the back of your mouth.

A crack in a tooth can start small but grow over time. Therefore, as soon as you suspect a crack in a tooth, get to your dentist to have it fixed. Very large cracks cause severe damage to the tooth, which your dentist may not be able to fix. Therefore, as soon as you suspect a crack in a tooth, get to your dentist for an evaluation.

Sensitivity in a single tooth can indicate a specific problem with that tooth. Your dentist will take images to find out whether you have a crack, decay, or another problem. Once they know why you feel pain in a tooth, they can repair the cracked or decayed tooth to stop the sensitivity.

Gum Disease

Gum disease can cause pockets to develop at the gum line and expose the bottom parts of the teeth, causing pain and new sensitivity. If left unchecked, these pockets can even grow to make the teeth unstable and fall out.

While you can get a periodontal root planing and scaling treatment to correct moderately advanced gum disease, in severe cases, you may require a gum graft to fix the opened pockets at the bottom of your teeth. These treatments can stop the progression of gum disease, help ease sensitivity, and prevent tooth loss.

To prevent gum disease, brush, and floss regularly and maintain twice-yearly dental cleanings to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth.

Teeth Grinding

Did you know that grinding your teeth causes more than just headaches? Nightly grinding can lead to tiny cracks in your teeth or worn enamel, both of which can cause temperature sensitivity. Your dentist will need to treat cracked or chipped teeth.

Depending on the degree of enamel wear, your dentist may use fluoride treatment, bonding, or crowns to repair teeth with damaged enamel.

To avoid future problems from continued teeth grinding, your dentist might recommend a night guard to protect your teeth from damage.

Post Root Canal Recovery

After root canal therapy, you may have some lingering sensitivity as your tooth heals. This healing process is normal. However, the discomfort should subside after a week or two. Even sensitivity, which tends to be the final post-procedure symptom to remain, should disappear in two weeks.

However, if you had a root canal and your tooth completely recovered from pain and sensitivity after the procedure, and you developed new problems, you may have developed a secondary infection or other complication. Sometimes, infectious materials remained in the tooth after the dentist treated it because they were in inaccessible parts of the tooth. This remaining infected matter can lead to prolonged pain or new pain after recovery from your root canal. You’ll need retreatment to have the issue corrected.

When to See a Dentist About New Tooth Sensitivity to Cold

Anytime you have new pain or sensitivity, contact your dentist for an appointment. Pay attention to the problem because it can worsen over time, primarily if caused by a cracked or decayed tooth.

Also, don’t try to mask the problem with sensitive toothpaste. You need to talk to your dentist before using these products to see if you have a treatable condition. Only with your dentist’s approval should you use these types of toothpaste to ease tooth sensitivity.

Enjoy Ice Cream Again! Call Us at Langley Dental Care for Treatment of Tooth Sensitivity

Don’t let tooth sensitivity compromise your ability to enjoy ice cream and cold drinks. Let our team at Langley Dental Care assess your teeth to treat the cause of your sensitivity. Contact us today to set up your visit and get ready to enjoy your favorite frozen treats.

Langley Dental Care | Dentist Charlotte NC | Cosmetic Dentistry