Tooth sensitivity comes in all shapes and sizes. Although hot sensitivity is usually associated with nerve damage and sweet sensitivity is linked to cavities, cold sensitivity is more unique. Having teeth that are sensitive to cold temperatures is a bit more difficult to nail down.
If your teeth hurt or feel tender when you’re drinking something cold or out in cool weather, here are eight factors you may need to rule out:
One of the first things our Mesa dental team will ask you about (if you’re bothered by tooth sensitivity) is what type of toothpaste you’re using. More often than not, whitening toothpaste tends to cause hypersensitivity if used on a routine basis. One of the best things to do is to alternate it with a sensitivity formula, so that it counteracts the “opening up” of your tooth pores, minimizing irritation to the tiny nerves in your enamel.
Do you tend to be a bit overzealous when it comes to cleaning your teeth? Aggressive toothbrushing that’s using too firm of pressure or too stiff/hard of toothbrush bristles can do damage to your teeth and gums. Over time, all of that back and forth abrasion can wear notches into the sides of your teeth. The wedges formed in your enamel (along with adjacent gum recession) can reveal the next layer of tooth, which is more sensitive to temperature changes.
Periodontal disease is a condition that causes gum tissues to detach from the teeth and shrink down the side of the tooth, exposing the root. Since roots are hypersensitive, it’s common for people with periodontitis to also experience tooth sensitivity. Something as simple as brushing your teeth may feel uncomfortable, depending on the severity of the soft tissue loss.
Tooth enamel is susceptible to erosion when you have a highly acidic diet or condition like acid reflux disease. If you’re someone who likes to suck on lemons for example, that natural acid will gradually erode through your thick layer of enamel. The cumulative exposure will start to make your tooth look thinner and more yellow in color. As those outer layers are eroded, your tooth will also become more sensitive and prone to decay.
Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)
Constant clenching and grinding your teeth is a condition we call “bruxism.” For some people, bruxism is a habit that happens during the day while they’re focused or feeling stressed out. Others grind their teeth while they’re sleeping. But when you’re constantly grinding your teeth together it can also cause them to exhibit mild flexing along the middle, near the gums. Untreated bruxism can lead to signs that are similar to aggressive toothbrushing. That is, wedges in tooth enamel and slight gum recession.
Are you using any type of teeth whitening product? Always work with Eastport Dental to find the right fit and concentration of gel. If you’re using a strip or over-the-counter tray system, there’s a good chance that the gel may be spilling onto your gum tissues. A professionally fitted tray and gel will be both safer and more effective.
Receding gums leave your tooth roots exposed. Again, those parts of your teeth aren’t supposed to come into contact with anything else. They’re supposed to be covered by your gum tissues. If you’re starting to get “long in the teeth” in some areas, be sure to talk to dr. Huynh about what’s causing your recession and what we can do to protect your smile. Left untreated, these areas are also prone to higher rates of tooth decay.
Leaky Dental Work
As restorations like fillings get older, they tend to pull back from the tooth and create a margin around it. For some people, this open margin makes their inner dental nerve more sensitive to changes in temperatures. You might notice that a specific tooth or area of your mouth is hypersensitive when you’re drinking something cold.
New dental work or large restorations can trigger the same type of sensation, since your tooth may not have “adjusted” to them just yet. If it’s still early on, it may take a week or two before things settle down.
Not Improving? See Our Dentist in Mesa
Eastport Dental can provide you with quick answers to your tooth sensitivity questions. With a professional diagnosis, you can easily find your way on the road to recovery. If you’re in pain or due for a checkup, call our office today to reserve an appointment with Dr. Huynh.