Sensitivity To Heat And Cold Is Normal, Right?


It’s a familiar picture: you bite into some ice cream, take a drink of ice water without a straw, or sip some hot coffee and suddenly experience immense pain and discomfort radiating from your teeth and gums. Many people experience this sensation, and the feeling might linger for a while or dissipate quickly, but, either way, it still isn’t normal. While maintaining good oral hygiene can certainly help prevent this sensation, there is likely an underlying issue that you need to address. In today’s blog, your Richfield, MN, dentist will talk about the causes of tooth sensitivity, and the dangers of not addressing it.

If It Isn’t Normal, What Causes My Discomfort?

Sensitivity to heat and cold can be caused by several underlying issues of varying severity. The actual sensation that you feel usually stems from the hot and cold foods and drinks being able to reach the nerves and cells inside your teeth. In a healthy tooth, cells and nerves are protected inside by the hard outer parts of your teeth: enamel, on the visible part, and cementum, on the part under your gums. However, if these hard outer parts break down or crack due to tooth decay, gum recession/gum disease, a fracture, or a loose or worn down filling, they expose the dentin beneath. Dentin is less dense and more porous, containing tubules that allow food and drink to reach the inner part of your teeth and thus affect the nerve endings and cells. So, if you are experiencing discomfort associated with cold or heat, it means that you are missing an essential part of your tooth’s protection- the enamel or cementum- and your teeth could still be decaying further.

What Can I Do?

After you notice any pain associated with your teeth, you should always contact your dentist. If you think what you are experiencing might be normal, there is no harm in asking us over the phone. Of course, pain should never be normalized. If you are uncomfortable eating and drinking, you should schedule an appointment so that your dentist can find the root of your problem, and get you on the way to fixing it. If you don’t, the tooth or teeth affected can continue to decay and gum disease can worsen, resulting in irreversible damage including possibly losing your tooth. At your appointment, your dentist will create a plan with you and can help you find the best options for your unique smile, from desensitizing toothpaste to many types of restorative dentistry.

I’m Convinced, When Can I Come In?

If you are suffering from tooth sensitivity you are not alone, but it isn’t normal. Sensitive teeth can point to much more serious issues which shouldn’t be allowed to progress. If you are having discomfort while eating or drinking, schedule a consultation with Dr. Keller by calling Cedar West Family Dentistry in Richfield, MN, today at (612) 861-7188.