tooth sensitivity

Tooth Sensitivity: Learn Why Your Tooth Hurts When Drinking Hot Or Cold Beverages

June 19, 2023

Many people struggle with tooth sensitivity to hot and cold beverages, and if you are one of them, you may wonder why this is happening to you and what you can do about it. Whether you find yourself reacting to a glass of iced tea or a delicious hot cup of coffee, dental sensitivity can prevent you from enjoying your favorite beverages year-round and leave you feeling frustrated and in pain.

Dental sensitivity is quite common and can be treated at home in some cases, and at other times you may need the help of your dentist. Determining what is causing your tooth sensitivity can help you find relief.

We want you to have exceptional oral health and be able to drink and eat comfortably. In this article, we will cover the causes of tooth sensitivity, helpful home remedies, and how your dentist can help you should you need additional treatment.

Underlying Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Your teeth are made of three layers. The outlet layer is the hard protective layer called the tooth enamel, protecting the soft inner layers. Below the enamel is dentin, a layer with microscopic tubes leading to the innermost layer called the pulp. There are various causes of tooth sensitivity, such as when cold or hot beverages stimulate the cells in the dentin layers, nerves, or other dental issues.

Tooth Sensitivity to Cold Beverages

For anyone who experiences sensitivity to cold, some of the reasons include:

  • Tooth decay. If your teeth also hurt while you chew, you may have a cavity or tooth decay.
  • Gum disease. Plaque build-up, significantly below the gum line, is an easy indication of gum disease, and excessive plaque can lead to cold sensitivity.
  • Brushing too hard. Using too much pressure, a hard-bristled toothbrush or abrasive toothpaste can wear down tooth enamel leading to cold sensitivity.
  • You are grinding or clenching your teeth. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, causes loss of tooth enamel, chipping teeth, and other dental issues.
  • Gum recession. The tooth roots are covered only by a thin layer of enamel, and when the gums recede, it exposes the roots causing tooth sensitivity.
  • Cracked teeth. Even small cracks in the teeth can become large crevices when the tooth enamel contracts and expands when the tooth is exposed to temperature changes. The cracks also proved an additional access point to the nerve region of the tooth.

Tooth Sensitivity to Hot Beverages

For anyone who experiences sensitivity to hot temperatures, some of the causes include the following:

  • Dental treatments. Several types of dental treatments can cause sensitivity to heat, including teeth cleanings, root planing, teeth whitening, dental crowns, and filling placement, although it usually resolves quickly. If it lasts longer than a few weeks, contact your dentist for help.
  • Eating acidic foods and drinks. Beverages and high-acidity foods, including coffee, wine, tomato sauce, and juices, can increase enamel loss.
  • Chronic oral health issues. Most of the time, tooth sensitivity begins at the gum line, and people struggling with gum recession and gum disease are the most commonly affected by teeth sensitivity.
  • Age-related sensitivity. As people age, maintaining oral health is crucial to ensure you keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Home Remedies for Teeth Sensitivity

If you have mild temperatures sensitivity, you can make some easy changes at home to help alleviate your dental discomfort and tooth sensitivity, which includes the following:

  • Using a straw rather than allowing the hot or cold liquid to touch your teeth
  • Reduce or eliminate acidic foods and beverages as they can irritate and more sensitive dentin and pulp layers of your teeth
  • Use a soft bristle toothbrush to avoid over brushing
  • Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth to reduce pain when drinking hot or cold beverages
  • Use a different mouthwash that can help reduce sensitivity without irritating your teeth further
  • Wear a mouthguard to avoid further wear from clenching and grinding your teeth, especially at night

Ways Your Dentist Can Help With Teeth Sensitivity

If you have no success with the home remedies and your dental sensitivity is the same or worse, depending on the cause, your dentist may recommend the following options including:

  • A root canal is needed if the tooth sensitivity results from decay or damage affecting the nerve structure in the inner layer of your teeth, leading to pulpitis. Your dentist can do restorative surgery called root canal therapy to remove the pulp tissue and damaged nerve, then place a dental crown if necessary to protect the tooth from further damage.
  • Fluoride therapy uses home and in-office treatment or silver diamine fluoride applications at your dentist’s office every six months.
  • Gum grafts may be necessary if periodontal disease or gum disease is the culprit and you have tooth roots exposed, causing dental sensitivity.
  • Dental restoration procedures can help if there is a chip, cavity, or crack your dentist can repair your tooth using an inlay, onlay, a dental crown, or filling to protect your tooth and reduce your tooth sensitivity.

For Help Finding A Solution For Your Tooth Sensitivity, Contact Carrie Muzny DDS, In The Woodlands Area

At Carrie Muzny DDS, our team of experts offers compassionate and professional care for the whole family. We provide various services, from cosmetic and restorative dentistry to preventative dentistry and surgical procedures, professional teeth whitening, and family dentistry in The Woodlands area.

Our exceptionally trained dentist practices modern techniques, utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, and will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan.

Contact us to book an appointment or consultation, and we will help you improve and maintain your oral health.

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