Tooth sensitivity is unpleasant, particularly when the discomfort happens on a recurring basis. If you experience tooth sensitivity when consuming hot and cold foods and drinks, the discomfort may be temporary or chronic. In the case of short-lived sensitivity, patients can avoid certain foods and drinks until the discomfort subsides. In the case of chronic tooth sensitivity, patients may wish to undergo restorative dentistry treatment to protect the tooth and dental nerves, thereby reducing discomfort when eating. At Boston Prosthodontics Dental Group, our dentists can determine the cause of your discomfort, and then recommend the appropriate lifestyle changes and dental treatments to reduce tooth sensitivity to hot and cold substances. To schedule an appointment, contact our Boston, MA practice today.
Causes of Tooth Sensitivity to Hot and Cold
Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold is often the result of the dental nerves becoming exposed. The dental nerves are microscopic tubes that reside beneath the tooth enamel in the tooth’s crown. On the root of the tooth, the nerves are located beneath the gum tissue. If these nerves become exposed, outside stimulation such as hot and cold foods and drinks can result in tooth sensitivity.
The tooth’s nerves may become exposed as a result of:
- Enamel erosion: The protective layer of the crown, the enamel, can wear down. This occurs when patients regularly consume acidic foods and drinks, suffer from bruxism, or fail to maintain good oral health.
- Gum recession: The gums can recede as a result of gum disease, bruxism, and aggressive tooth brushing habits.
- Dental decay: Bacterial acids can damage the tooth structure.
- Cracks or fractures: An accident or chronic teeth grinding can result in tooth fractures.
- Teeth whitening treatment: Teeth whitening treatment temporarily exposes the dental nerves. Any discomfort should subside within a few days.
Oral Health and Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Sensitivity
If you experience tooth sensitivity, there are some changes that you can make to minimize discomfort:
- Use sensitive formula toothpaste
- Avoid highly acidic foods such as citrus fruits and juices
- Make sure you are using a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Apply medium to light pressure when brushing the teeth
- Avoid eating and drinking extremely hot or cold foods and drinks
Dental Treatments to Reduce Tooth Sensitivity
If changes to your oral health care regimen do not provide enough relief, we may consider the following treatment options:
- Prescription toothpaste or mouthwash for sensitive teeth
- The application of a desensitizing agent to the teeth
- The use of porcelain veneers or dental bonding on front teeth that have experienced enamel wear
- The use of dental bonding or crowns on back teeth that have suffered enamel erosion
- Composites or gum grafts to treat gum recession
- Dental fillings for cavities and fractures
The treatment that is right for you depends on the cause and severity of your tooth sensitivity. During your dental exam, we will discuss your level of discomfort and the factors that trigger your discomfort. We will also examine your dental X-rays, teeth, and gums to check for signs of dental problems. To schedule your exam, contact Boston Prosthodontics Dental Group.