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Cold-Sensitive Tooth: Causes and Treatments

1 in 3 Canadians


A statistic from dental professionals states that 1 in 3 adult Canadians have experienced tooth sensitivity. If you’re not one of those Canadians with sensitive teeth, then count your blessings, as it can be quite painful and may be an indicator of larger oral health concerns.


As common a complaint that sensitive teeth may be, it doesn’t make it any less challenging to deal with. Patients report that the most frequent triggers of sensitive teeth are cold foods and drinks, or a temperature sensitivity to both hot and cold foods.


For many, as soon as cold beverages hit their teeth or a specific tooth, even through a straw, it can bring about immense pain. It can be so impactful that people ward off cold drinks and cold foods like ice cream.


One-time or Recurrent Issue?


For some patients that experience tooth sensitivity, be it a hot sensitivity or cold sensitivity, it can be a short, one-time experience based on limited exposure to dramatic temperature change. Tooth sensitivity, when a recurrent issue, according to the American Dental Association, you should seek a consultation, assessment or examination by a dentist or other dental professional at Gateshead Dental (


Warning signs


Prolonged sensitivity can be a warning sign of an underlying cause. An early dental treatment plan is highly recommended as it allows for early intervention to minimize heat sensitivity and cold sensitivity, as well as the cause to prevent further damage.


There are several causes of tooth sensitivity. Common causes for tooth pain are enamel loss through worn tooth enamel, gum recession (when your gums recede or push away from the tooth) a chipped or cracked tooth, tooth decay, teeth grinding, weakened or sensitive dentin, or root planing.


What is Dentin?


Dentin is a protective outer layer or coating of enamel that covers your teeth including the nerve endings like a protective layer.


It can also protect the tooth root. If exposed root surfaces are left without other treatments to remedy the core issue, that’s when you see the increase in serious issues like exposed tooth roots.


Some people choose to treat tooth sensitivity with a desensitizing toothpaste. Although it may alleviate some of the hurt that you’re experiencing, it is a short-term solution to only reduce sensitivity, not solve the problem.


While the symptom of tooth sensitivity to temperature changes may be lessened, they don’t treat the cause nor do they replace the intrinsic value of good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups of a dental professional.


Causes of Tooth Sensitivity


There are any number of rationales provided to explain sensitivity of teeth. This sensitivity can be caused by citrus fruits negatively impacting not only enamel covers but the teeth and gums as well.


While the jury is still out as to whether fluoride treatments or whitening toothpastes, a trend as of late, may also be contributors. A loosening of a crown placement can also make for tooth sensitivity due to the breakdown of the tooth enamel.


Hard to conceptualize tooth grinding can also lead to tooth sensitivity, but it does, as it makes the gum line and gum tissue more susceptible to gum disease . This can lead to a root canal treatment or using a mouth guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.


Speaking of health tips, while dental surgery is reserved for the more serious cases, that old adage of an ounce of prevention very much applies to cold or hot tooth sensitivity.


If you do have sensitive teeth, consider upping your oral health game in order to keep it at bay. Brush your teeth at least twice daily with either a soft bristled toothbrush or a hard bristled toothbrush, flossing, and avoid acidic foods.


While it won’t completely banish tooth sensitivity., it does significantly lessen the occurrences so maybe you can enjoy ice cream again!


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