Reasons for Sensitivity to Hot and Cold

Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures can really limit your diet. You may find yourself choosing lukewarm foods and drinks just to avoid the pain, but you do have other options. In most cases, temperature sensitivity is due to enamel erosion or gum recession.

The enamel on your teeth is strong and acts as insulation for the dentin. The dentin is a softer layer that encases the pulp of the tooth. The pulp contains soft tissues including the nerve and blood vessels, and it resides inside the root canals in the dentin. The dentin contains tiny liquid-filled tubules that transmit sensations to the nerve of the tooth. When the enamel layer is thick and healthy, these sensations are not painful. However, when the enamel thin, the nerve can become overstimulated by the sensations, and this triggers sensitivity and pain.

Although you cannot restore lost enamel, you can take steps to ease the discomfort. Use gentle pressure and a soft brush when brushing your teeth, and use fluoride toothpaste. Desensitizing toothpastes are available and can give you significant relief. Finally, skip acidic or sweet foods, which can promote further enamel loss.

If the gum recession is severe, you may need a gum graft or dental bonding to protect the roots. Extremely worn teeth may benefit from crowns or other restorations. Call us to learn more or to schedule your appointment with our expert in treatment of sensitive teeth.