Teeth sensitive to cold are the teeth that cause discomfort or pain in response to cold stimuli such as cold drinks and cold air. It may be a temporary or chronic problem, and it can affect one tooth or several teeth. In most cases, teeth sensitive to cold are easily treated. So, what makes teeth sensitive to cold, and what are the treatment options?
What Makes Teeth Sensitive To Cold?
The mechanism of tooth sensitivity is simple. For various reasons, the outer layer of the tooth (tooth enamel) becomes thinner revealing the small tubules in the second layer of the tooth (the dentin). These tubules, also known as dentinal tubules, lead directly to the pulp and tooth nerve. As a result, tooth pain occurs when the tooth exposes to cold stimuli. There are many reasons that cause tooth enamel damage and make teeth sensitive to cold, include:
Teeth Sensitive To Cold Causes
- Gum recession: it causes the exposure of sensitive tooth roots. Gum recession is one of the most common reasons that make teeth sensitive to cold. The causes of gum recession include poor oral hygiene, wrong tooth brushing technique, and teeth grinding.
- Dental caries: the tooth sensitivity may occur as a result of dental caries, worn or broken tooth fillings, or cracked tooth.
- Wrong tooth brushing technique: too much or too frequent brushing and a very abrasive toothpaste can cause the wear of enamel and the exposure of dentin.
- Acidic foods and drinks: overconsumption of acidic foods and drinks can cause tooth erosion especially in the cervical area of the tooth. For example, overconsumption of citrus juices and soft drinks.
- Teeth grinding: some parafunctional habits can cause the wear (attrition) or the fracture of tooth enamel and the exposure of the dentin. For example, teeth grinding, nail-biting, and pen or pencil chewing.
- After dental treatment: a temporary tooth sensitivity may occur after a professional cleaning, in connection with an orthodontic appliance (braces), or after a new tooth filling. However, if tooth sensitivity is persistent, you should contact your dentist.
- Teeth whitening products: some teeth whitening products and kinds of toothpaste contain chemical ingredients that make teeth sensitive to cold.
- General disorders: some medical conditions such as Gastroesophageal reflux disease and Bulimia can cause the erosion of tooth enamel. Also, the regular use of some medications such as aspirin and antihistamines can cause the wear of tooth enamel.
If you have teeth sensitive to cold, visit your dentist to identify the underlying cause and treat it.
Teeth Sensitive To Cold Treatment
Depending on the underlying cause, the treatment of teeth sensitive to cold include:
- Tooth fillings: your dentist will remove dental caries and place a tooth filling to eliminate tooth sensitivity and restore the shape and function of the tooth. Also, he/she will replace cracked or broken tooth fillings.
- Bonding resin: your dentist may use a bonding resin to cover exposed root surfaces and repair cracked or chipped teeth.
- Night guard: if you grind your teeth during sleep, your dentist will take a dental impression for the fabrication of a night guard.
- Scaling and root planing: your dentist will perform scaling and root planing in the case of mild gum recession.
- Gum surgery: your dentist may recommend a surgical gum graft in the case of advanced gum recession.
- Dental crowns: in the case of tooth erosion or broken tooth, the dentist may recommend a dental crown.
- Root canal treatment: in the case of severe tooth sensitivity, the dentist may recommend a root canal treatment.
Teeth Sensitive To Cold Home Remedies
- Avoid acidic foods and drinks: such as citrus fruits and carbonated soft drinks.
- Follow the right toothbrushing technique: ask your dentist about the right brushing technique and use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Use a desensitizing toothpaste: desensitizing toothpaste contain ingredients such as potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride. These ingredients block the tubules in the dentin, preventing or reducing tooth sensitivity.