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What Causes Tooth Sensitivity to Hot & Cold?

Tired of Teeth Pain? Get the Answers You Need!

X-ray with red highlighted tooth roots indicating dental sensitivity

Many people have had the experience of taking a big bite of ice cream or gulp of hot chocolate, and instead of experiencing their wonderful sweet flavor, immediately felt pain in their teeth. Does this sound familiar to you? On this page, your dentist is going to share what causes tooth sensitivity to hold and cold for Louisville, KY dental patients and what you can do about it.

1. Exposed Tooth Root

As a person ages, or if they have developed gum disease, their gums may start to slowly recede, revealing the sensitive enamel around the roots of the teeth. The enamel here is actually much thinner than the crown, so when exposed to certain temperatures, it offers less protection for the delicate nerve.

2. Dental Decay

Closeup of smile with severe decay

Sometimes, tooth sensitivity may be a sign of a more serious, underlying problem, such as undiagnosed tooth decay. When a tooth develops a cavity, the enamel becomes weaker, allowing outside temperatures to affect the internal nerve more, which can manifest as sensitivity and pain.

3. Cracked Tooth

Closeup of smile with damaged cracked teeth

The enamel can also be weakened by a microscopic crack, and these can occur due to normal wear and tear or even an accident. Cracks can also be problematic because they potentially expose the internal structure of the tooth to bacteria, which can lead to an infection that can only be treated by a root canal.

4. Teeth Grinding

Man holding cheek in pain

If a patient unconsciously grinds their teeth, particularly while they sleep (which is a condition called bruxism), this can also wear down the enamel and make the teeth more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures.

What to Do About Tooth Sensitivity

Woman covering mouth in pain

Fortunately, the answer to tooth sensitivity isn’t simply to give up your favorite treats!

First, we suggest switching to a sensitive tooth toothpaste, which you should be able to easily find at any store to help reduce discomfort. After brushing with one for about a week or so, you should start to feel a big drop in sensitivity.

However, if you still have really sensitive teeth after doing this, your next call should be to Remmers Dental. In our dental office, we can perform an exam to find the underlying cause of your problem. If it’s due to dental decay or a cracked tooth, we can restore the tooth using a number of different treatments such as a filling or crown. Or, if we believe that bruxism (teeth grinding) is the issue, he can recommend that you wear something called a nightguard to bed. This is a small, protective mouthpiece that fits easily over the teeth and provides a barrier to prevent them from grinding together during the night.

We’re Here to Help

Woman holding ice pack to cheek

In the end, tooth sensitivity can certainly be annoying, but it’s also very treatable. Try switching your toothpaste, and if that doesn’t help, just give Remmers Dental a call, and he’ll be able to provide the solution you need! To learn more about what causes dental sensitivity and how we can help you address it, contact us today.

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