Why are my teeth sensitive to cold?
Melbourne winters are brisk, and you might be feeling the icy chill on your teeth. If you have teeth sensitive to cold, our Antarctic winds may be unbearably painful.
Sensitive teeth are a common dental issue. Not only teeth sensitive to cold, but you may also feel teeth sensitivity with hot or sweet foods and beverages too.
While sensitive toothpaste can help dull the pain a bit, it doesn’t address the root cause of the problem. Teeth that are overly sensitive to cold are usually a symptom of an underlying dental issue.
In other words, it’s important to let your dentist know you’re experiencing sensitive teeth or even a single sensitive tooth. Sensitive teeth can signal a more serious dental issue that’s worth addressing.
Sensitive teeth can be a sign of something worse
This is not to scare you, but instead to encourage you to take action.
There are many dental conditions that cause teeth to feel sensitive. For this reason, listen to your sensitive teeth rather than grinning and bearing the pain — they may be telling you there’s a bigger dental issue brewing.
Here are the 3 most common causes of sensitive teeth we treat at our dental clinic in Blackburn:
1. Sensitive teeth caused by tooth decay
Tooth decay can be hard to spot during your daily brush in the mirror. Worse yet, tooth decay is painless. You can only feel pain when the decay has progressed deep into the tooth and caused damage to the tooth nerve.
Tooth sensitivity is a symptom that the nerve is starting to get damaged from the severely rotting tooth. But the good news is, you can stop the damage in its tracks by treating the tooth decay with a simple filling procedure.
If the tooth decay is left too long, the nerve can eventually die. Unfortunately, this causes the tooth to go from sensitive to a full-blown toothache. At this point, the only treatment option is a root canal, which is more costly and time consuming than just having a filling done when the hole is small.
If you’re experiencing sensitive teeth, we encourage you to book an appointment and tackle the problem early.
2. Cracked tooth feels sensitive
A cracked tooth can be severe, but in some cases they may look like nothing’s missing. You may even be unaware a tooth has cracked. It might just hurt a bit or feel sensitive when you chew on the tooth.
As a result, an undiagnosed cracked tooth can progress into the nerve and cause a tooth infection. This will further cause tooth pain and sensitivity.
In the worse case scenario, cracks can split the tooth in half, making them impossible to treat and the tooth needs to be removed.
Treating a cracked tooth is vital and will ease teeth sensitivity as well as restoring full function back to the damaged tooth. You’ll be able to crunch into food again without a worry.
3. Exposed dentine causes sensitive teeth
Our teeth are protected by a layer of enamel. Tooth enamel does an excellent job of shielding our teeth against bad bacteria.
While tooth enamel is pretty tough, it can be worn away by a number of things. Most commonly, from over-brushing
Teeth brushing is an essential part of great dental hygiene, but brushing too hard or for too long can have the opposite effect. By over-brushing, you erode tooth enamel over time.
Once eroded, tooth enamel doesn’t come back. Without your tooth enamel, the dentine layer underneath is exposed. And without its protective layer, teeth will feel very sensitive.
Brushing other abrasive ingredients against your teeth, like activated charcoal or baking soda, can also erode away tooth enamel.
Preventative Check Ups every 6-12 months are the best way to prevent enamel erosion. As dentists, we’re able to diagnose any issues very early on and find the most effective and simple way to fix the problem.
Listen to your sensitive teeth
If you have teeth sensitive to cold, addressing it early will avoid costly treatments later on. More importantly, by addressing the problem, you’ll be able to enjoy our Melbourne winters or a summery cold drink again, without the pain of sensitive teeth.