This is a common question, and dentists understand how painful and difficult dealing with tooth sensitivity can be. Nothing beats an ice-cold beverage during summertime or a hot drink that calms and comforts the entire body in the cold.

It is aggravating to have dental sensitivity that prohibits you from drinking your favorite beverages, but you are not alone.

In the United States, up to 45 million people suffer from temperature-related tooth sensitivity, and the majority of these instances can be treated at home. However, a dentist should be consulted in some circumstances. At times, there may be an underlying cause for the issue, which only a dentist can determine correctly and proceed with the required treatment.

Why are my Teeth Sensitive?

When you go to a dental office for this treatment, the dentist will first figure out what is causing the issue. To understand the usual underlying causes of sensitivity, it is important to know the anatomy of a tooth.

There are three layers to each tooth. The enamel, a strong outer covering that protects the softer interior layers of teeth, is the tooth’s protection system. The dentin, a tooth layer immediately beneath the enamel, comprises a network of small tubes that go to the pulp, the tooth’s deepest layer. The pulp is where the tooth’s nerve system is located. When cells within the dentin layers of teeth or the tooth’s nerve are stimulated by a hot or cold beverage, dental sensitivity to temperature develops.

If you are suffering from tooth sensitivity due to cold, then you may ask what causes sensitive teeth. In case of cold-related sensitivity, the causes may include:

  • Tooth decay causes cavities in your teeth, which react to the cold temperature because the inner part of the teeth becomes exposed
  • Gum disease involves plaque build-up on teeth, especially along the gum line. The build-up is an early sign of the disease, and high quantities of plaque on tooth surfaces can cause cold sensitivity
  • Too much pressure on the teeth, abrasive kinds of toothpaste, and brushing with a firm-bristles toothbrush can all wear down tooth enamel, causing cold sensitivity
  • Teeth grinding and clenching — commonly known as bruxism — causes tooth enamel loss, chips in teeth, and other dental issues that lead to cold sensitivity
  • Gum tissue recession causes irritation in the nerve of the tooth. Because the thinnest section of the enamel protects the tooth roots, teeth are more likely to be sensitive to cold when the gums recede, exposing the roots
  • As the tooth enamel expands and contracts in response to temperature variations, little cracks or crevices can develop into bigger fissures. Cold sensitivity can be caused by these fissures, which provide another access point to the tooth’s nerve

Symptoms of Tooth Sensitivity

When exposed to heat or cold, the major symptom of dental sensitivity is tooth pain. Many patients report sharp pain. After drinking hot or cold beverages, some people experience a dull, lasting discomfort. In many circumstances, the amount of time you suffer temperature sensitivity following exposure determines the treatment method for tooth sensitivity.

If you have tooth sensitivity that is not going away and worsening, you can seek dental care in Chula Vista at Dr. Nick Addario’s dental clinic. Please call or visit to learn more or book your appointment.