Five Causes of Teeth Sensitivity to Heat or Cold: Info from Your Family Dentist

January 30, 2018 Published by Leave your thoughts

Your teeth may not give you any warning that something is wrong—that is, until you get a sudden stabbing pain after sipping on a hot or cold beverage. Is tooth sensitivity unpleasant? Yes. Can it be more than a minor inconvenience? Also yes! It’s important to pay attention to changes in the way your teeth respond to hot and cold and to notify your dentist as soon as possible, because there could be a more serious problem going on in your mouth. You also want to get your days back to normal.

Mild to severe pain or sensitivity in a tooth can be the result of a number of oral health issues—assuming it was not caused by an accident like a fall or sports injury. Not dealing with a tooth issue can have a detrimental effect on your overall health and wellbeing, so you and your dentist will want to identify the cause as soon as possible.

Here’s some information from your family dentist to help you understand why your teeth may be sensitive to heat or cold:

  • Cavities: When there are fissures in your teeth, there’s a greater chance that the tender nerves will be exposed. Therefore, cavities of any size can be the reason your teeth are reacting negatively to hot or cold temperatures. Take this type of sensitivity as a warning sign that a cavity may be forming and make a dental appointment right away.
  • Loose or missing fillings: A loose or missing filling can cause tooth sensitivity, depending on the proximity of your filling to the tooth’s nerve. If you know you have fillings, but can’t remember which teeth they are in, ask your dentist to write down that information for future reference. Knowing which teeth have fillings—or have undergone dental work in general—can help you identify whether your heat and cold sensitivity is related to a loose or missing filling.
  • Enamel erosion: Your tooth’s first line of defense against the food that goes into your mouth is a protective layer called enamel. Over time, after years of encountering hot, cold, rough and sticky food items, the enamel can wear down, which can lead to tooth decay then nerve exposure. Note that enamel weakens due to age, a diet that is mostly sugary or acidic and a history of acid reflux disease.
  • Tooth damage: Another possible cause of tooth sensitivity to heat and cold is tooth damage. You can damage your teeth in a number of ways, including by hitting your mouth on something, experiencing an impact while playing sports, being in an accident and biting down on something hard. The sensitivity can be the result of muscle or bone pain, but you could have easily cracked, chipped or broken a tooth.
  • Receding gums: A material called dentin is the coating just beneath your tooth enamel. It is very sensitive, so when your gums recede and the dentin is exposed, you’ll feel pain and sensitivity.

If you or a family member is suffering from sensitive teeth, see your family dentist immediately. Call the experienced dental team at Modern Smiles Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment today!

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