Have you ever bitten into something, a cupcake, ice cream, or taken a sip of hot coffee only to experience a sharp pain in your tooth? Sensitivities to hot, cold, or sweet foods or drinks indicate that you may have a cracked, decaying, or infected tooth. Luckily, these are easily fixed with a trip to the dentist. So, let’s take a closer look at what makes a tooth sensitive to cold, hot, or sweet foods.
Why is my tooth sensitive to hot and cold?
While the most common reason for a tooth being sensitive to hot and cold is a cavity, there are several other explanations for this discomfort. So, let’s look.
- Symptoms of Sensitive Teeth
If you experience a quick, sharp pain while consuming something cold, hot, or sweet, or while flossing or brushing your teeth, you have teeth sensitivity and may contact our professionals to get help. However, not all tooth sensitivity is the same. Some may feel pain occasionally, while others may experience discomfort each time they eat. Either way, it is essential to understand first what is causing the sensitivity.
- Causes of Tooth Sensitivity to Cold and Heat
There are several reasons you may be experiencing a tooth sensitive to cold or teeth that hurt when eating sweets. First, you may have a cavity, or another form of tooth decay, such as a fractured tooth, the beginnings of a cavity that shows up as a black spot on your tooth, worn-down enamel, fillings that need repair, or gum disease.
Individuals with healthy teeth have protective layers such as a coating outside the tooth called tooth enamel and cementum, which guards the tooth’s roots under the gum. These layers defend against bacteria and shield the nerves in your teeth and gums found in the Dentin of the tooth from acid or foods of different temperatures.
If you wear down these layers, you expose the Dentin or nerve center of the tooth, which then sends out a sharp pain if it comes into contact with hot, cold, or sweet foods.
- Does Cold Sensitivity Mean Root Canal?
Because there are different tooth decay stages, having a tooth sensitive to cold or a tooth sensitive to cold water does not automatically mean you’ll need a root canal. Typically the dentist will recommend other treatments first.
- Can Tooth Sensitivity Go Away?
Depending on the cause of your tooth sensitivity, your dentist can prescribe oral care or perform dental procedures to prevent further sensitivity and alleviate the pain.
Common Reasons a Tooth Is Sensitive To Cold
You may feel a sharp pain in your mouth when you consume something cold like ice cream or ice water. Below are a few reasons why your tooth is sensitive to cold but not hot foods.
- Receding Gums
Exposure to the tooth’s inner nerve can lead to cold sensitivities, which is why your tooth will hurt when drinking cold water. As a result, individuals with receding gums that expose tooth roots are more likely to have cold sensitivities.
- Overzealous Product Use
Brushing too vigorously or using a toothbrush with hard bristles can lead to the removal of enamel or cause receding gums.
- Grinding Teeth and Stress
Individuals under stress tend to clench or grind their teeth. Besides wearing your teeth and enamel down, this can cause fractures, leading to sensitivity.
- Cracks in Teeth
Cracks in your teeth can result from grinding or biting down on something hard. The fissure then creates a way for the cold to reach the tooth root, leading to cold sensitivities.
- Exposed Nerve Roots
Exposed root nerves occur due to worn down enamel or receding gums and are more sensitive to cold items.
Common Reasons a Tooth Is Sensitive to Heat
Having one tooth sensitive to cold is common, as is having your teeth hurt when eating sweets. However, having your teeth sensitive to hot foods or drinks is a little more concerning.
Tooth Decay or Gum Disease
While having a tooth sensitive to cold could signify gum disease or cavities, a tooth sensitive to hot things could indicate that the nerve inside the tooth is going bad or is dying and forming an abscess.
How To Treat Sensitive Teeth
There are several ways to treat and prevent sensitive teeth, so let’s look:
- How To Prevent Enamel Damage & Receding Gums
You can easily prevent enamel damage and receding gums by brushing gently with a toothbrush with soft bristles. This way, you can clean and protect your teeth without removing enamel and raising your gum line to expose your roots.
- How Dentists Can Help With Dental Sensitivity
Dentists help in several ways in combating dental sensitivity. For example, they may clean your teeth with fluoride gel that helps fight cavity-causing bacteria and strengthen tooth enamel. Alternatively, the dentist may perform a gum graft to cover the exposed area and reduce sensitivity if tooth roots are exposed. Lastly, they may perform a root canal if your root nerve is infected.
- At-Home Tooth Sensitivity Solutions
You can prevent tooth sensitivity at home by changing your diet and avoiding sugary or acidic foods, like orange juice. Additionally, brushing your teeth twice daily, flossing regularly, and chewing sugar-free gum after each meal will help.
How To Stop Sensitive Teeth Pain Immediately?
The best way to stop pain caused by sensitivity caused by a tooth sensitive to cold, hot, or sweet treats, is to visit your dentist. However, if you don’t have an oral hygienist, we recommend our dentist for US clients, Summerlin Dentist, for expert oral care.