3202 Palm Harbor Blvd. Palm Harbor, Florida 34683 (727) 781-GUMS

Dr. Philip Sherman, DMD – Blog


What does it mean when my teeth are sensitive to hot and cold?

woman holding ice bag to cheek due to toothache

If ice cream or hot coffee brings on some tooth pain, you may have sensitive teeth. Don’t panic! It’s a common condition that more than 45 million adults in the U.S. suffer from and it is treatable.

Why are my teeth sensitive to cold?
This is a very common problem and it could result from a couple of things:

  • The part of the tooth that’s sensitive is the dentin that is exposed due to the wearing of the outer protective layers of enamel and cementum.
  • Your teeth may be sensitive due to a cavity that will need to be treated by your dentist.
  • Sensitivity could be caused by a lost or loose filling, a cracked tooth or an exposed root surface.
  • Inflamed or sore gums can cause teeth sensitivity. If you have advanced gingivitis, that’s periodontal disease, the gums are moving away from the tooth, exposing the roots which causes the teeth to be sensitive to hot, cold and even just cold air.
  • Teeth grinding can also cause teeth sensitivity.

How did my teeth become sensitive?
The ADA identifies the following factors:

  • Improper toothbrushing and over-brushing of teeth
  • Clenching or grinding of teeth
  • Erosion due to acid
  • Orthodontic treatment

How can I treat the problem of sensitive teeth?
This partially depends on how sensitive your teeth are. It’s best to have your dentist or dental hygienist evaluate your condition and suggest treatment options that best for your sensitive teeth.

Treatments could include any or all of these things:

  • Changing your toothpaste to one that is specially made for sensitive teeth
  • Fluoride treatments which can be done either at home or at the dentist office
  • Eating less acidic foods like tomato and citrus
  • Crowns or bonded fillings exposed area
  • Root canal treatment
  • Change your tooth brush and how you brush – avoid hard-bristled toothbrushes and brushing teeth too vigorously.

When do I know it’s time to see my dentist for my sensitive teeth?
If your teeth are very sensitive to both hot and cold for more than three or four days it’s time to get to the dentist. You may have a cavity or abscess that’s not apparant. Better to find out sooner than later. Let the dentist know how long you’ve had the pain and if anything you’ve done has caused relief such as a hot or cold compress.

Your dentist will know what route to take to alleviate the pain. If you live or work near Palm Harbor Florida and are in search of a new dentist, the friendly and efficient staff at Breezy Bay Dental would be happy to meet you and work with you and your family to offer a great experience in dental health.

Call 727-781-GUMS (727-781-4867) to set up an appointment.