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Have you ever taken a deep breath in the middle of the winter and felt a twinge jolt down one of your teeth? Or maybe it was the summertime and a bite of ice cream is what made you cringe. Have you stopped drinking hot coffee because it hurts your teeth? If any of these seem familiar, it’s likely that you have what is known as dental hypersensitivity, or an increased sensitivity to heat and cold. Read on to find out what causes this condition and learn some tips for dealing with it.
A Cavity Could Be to Blame
Sometimes, hypersensitivity is caused by dental decay. As decay gets close to the nerve of the tooth, it can become inflamed and make everything painful, whether it’s hot coffee, cold air, or the sugar in a slice of watermelon. If you’re feeling the sensitivity in just one tooth, decay is a likely culprit. This is even true if you already have a filling in the tooth, because if decay begins to develop under the filling, it can get bad before you even realize anything is going on.
Gum Recession Could Be the Culprit
If you’re feeling the pain on an entire quadrant of your mouth or even your whole mouth, it could be gum recession. As you get older (and sometimes in response to gingivitis), your gums begin to pull away from the crowns of your teeth a bit, exposing part of the root of your tooth. This part of your tooth doesn’t have the same protective enamel as the exposed crown, so it’s more sensitive to temperature changes. It could affect just one or two teeth, but often it tends to happen in larger segments of your mouth.
You Can Treat Hypersensitivity
You don’t have to live with discomfort when you eat or drink anything that isn’t room temperature. If a cavity is to blame, then getting a filling or a root canal and crown will get you back on track. Gum disease can be treated with a good dental hygiene routine and, in some cases, periodontal surgery. If you are having some gum recession, a toothpaste for sensitive teeth can help. If it’s severe, surgery might be an option.
Please call our office if you are experiencing discomfort and pain when you are exposed to heat and cold. We want you to be comfortable and for your teeth to last a lifetime!
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