Why Are My Teeth Sensitive to Cold?

two people eating ice cream together -how to treat cold sensitive teeth

Why Are My Teeth Sensitive to Cold?

Picture this: it is a beautifully sunny day, and after some time spent outdoors you decide to get a lovely cold treat. But with the first lick of your ice cream cone, pain shoots through your teeth! 

While cold sensitivity is fairly common, it should not be so bad that it ruins your day. There are many different ways to treat cold-sensitive teeth, and this quick guide will help you identify why your teeth feel sensitive so you can protect those pearly whites. 

What Causes Cold Sensitive Teeth?

One of the most common causes of cold sensitivity is exposed nerve endings. When teeth get damaged or their enamel grows too thin, it is easier for extreme temperatures to reach the nerve endings inside. This is why taking a bite of cold ice cream or a sip from a chilly drink can send shooting pains through your teeth. 

Common Causes of Cold Sensitivity

  • Fractured or Cracked Teeth 

If you notice sensitivity after an injury to your mouth, check for cracked, chipped, or discolored teeth. 

  • Poor Oral Hygiene 

Tooth decay and gum disease can expose the tooth roots, wear away the tooth enamel, or cause deep cavities that reach the nerves inside a tooth. 

  • Worn or Damaged Enamel 

While tooth enamel can be strengthened, it cannot be regrown. Enamel loss can be caused by many things, including tooth decay, smoking, aggressive brushing, or even some toothpaste and whitening products. 

  • Damaged Fillings or Crowns 

Lost fillings or damaged crowns can also expose the nerve endings inside a tooth. If you have a sudden onset of sensitivity, check for loose or missing restorations.

How to Treat Cold-Sensitive Teeth

Tooth sensitivity should never be ignored, because it is often a sign of a serious problem. Identifying the reason behind your sensitivity can help your dentist formulate a treatment plan, so you can go back to enjoying your favorite cold foods and drinks. 

Treatments vary depending on the problem. For example, if your cold sensitivity is due to mild enamel erosion, switching to a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth or adding a fluoride mouthwash to your daily routine can help. 

Common Treatments for Tooth Sensitivity

  • Desensitizing Products 

For minor enamel wear, adding these products to your oral care routine can help. It is important to note that they work best when used consistently—they’re not a quick fix. Your dentist may also recommend a fluoride gel application to rebuild your enamel. 

  • Restorations

Crowns, fillings, inlays, or onlays may be necessary if the sensitivity is caused by tooth decay or due to severely cracked or chipped teeth. 

  • Root Canals 

In cases of severe damage or decay, a root canal procedure may be necessary to clear an infection from the inside of a tooth and relieve extreme sensitivity. 

  • Gum Grafts 

This procedure is used to cover tooth roots that have been exposed by gum recession from periodontitis, genetics, or age. 

Best Dental Care for Sensitive Teeth

Don’t let cold-sensitive teeth determine how you live your life! At Hicks Dental Group in Prescott, Arizona, we have the knowledge and experience needed to help you with all your oral care needs. From treatment for sensitive teeth to implants or Invisalign, we can help you achieve the smile of your dreams. Contact us today to make an appointment. 



Images used under creative commons license (5/31/23). Photo by marqquin on Unsplash.