Tooth sensitivity may occur as minor dental discomfort or as a painful sign of a more serious issue.
It usually feels like a sharp or shooting pain through your teeth like a "tooth brain freeze.”
Tooth sensitivity triggered by temperature tends to occur when a tooth’s outer protective layer, the enamel, is damaged.
Enamel covers the parts of a tooth above the gums. A loss of enamel can expose the deeper layer of the tooth called dentin. Dentin has pores that communicate with the interior nerve of the tooth. That's why heat and cold stimulate the nerves.
The layer covering the root, called cementum, can be exposed and cause sensitivity due to receding gums.
Common causes of enamel loss that create discomfort with heat or cold include:
- tooth decay
- tooth injuries, like a bruised tooth or chipped enamel
- teeth grinding
- gum disease
- receding gums
- harsh dental-care products, like teeth whitening products and alcohol-based mouthwashes
- some kinds of recent dental work, like crowns and fillings
- acidic foods
- tooth infection
- forceful brushing
- smoking and use of tobacco products
- limited access to oral care
- poor oral hygiene
For heat-and-cold-related tooth discomfort caused by a chronic underlying problem, the discomfort will likely recur when eating and drinking — unless the underlying cause is corrected.
A dental examination will help diagnose the underlying problem and a plan to treat the issue.
Give us a call with questions and a free consultation to see how we can help!