How Hot and Cold Substances Can Cause Tooth Sensitivity By summer on September 11, 2016

A woman with a toothacheThe people of Birmingham know that our dental care center provides excellent treatment for even the most complex problems. This is because we offer state-of-the-art restorative dentistry procedures, always with a focus on improving health as well as aesthetics.

Many patients who come to us complain of toothaches and sensitivity, particularly when they have hot or cold food items and beverages. Let's take a look at this issue in more detail right now.

Understanding the Anatomy of a Tooth

To understand the nature of tooth sensitivity, it may be helpful to first consider the general anatomy of a tooth.

The topmost surface of a tooth is comprised of enamel, which is the hardest substance in the human body. Beneath this enamel is a porous substance known as dentin; the pores are referred to as dentinal tubules. In the center of the tooth is a hollow chamber that contains soft tissue called dental pulp. The dental pulp is comprised of nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels, all of which was essential for the initial formation and maturation of the tooth.

The portion of a tooth located above the gumline is known as the crown, while the covered portion of the tooth leading into the jawbone is known as the root. There is more enamel in the crown than the root.

Common Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Some of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity include:

  • Cavities and Tooth Decay – When part of a tooth is affected by a cavity, it potentially exposes more of the dentin under the enamel, causing sensitivity and pain.

  • Chips and Cracks – Just like tooth decay, chips and cracks potentially expose more of the dental of a tooth to various elements, causing pain and sensitivity.

  • Gum Recession – Gum recession refers to the loss of gum tissue along the gumline. This exposes more of a tooth's root structure, which is more sensitive since there is not as much enamel present.

  • New Dental Restorations – Sometimes when a new filling, inlay, onlay, or crown is placed, patients experience sensitivity since their tooth is getting used to the restoration being in place.

  • Teeth Whitening Treatments – When you undergo a teeth whitening treatment, the bleaching agent used penetrates the enamel and makes the underlying dentinal tubules more receptive to pressure and temperature.

Why Hot and Cold Items Lead to Sensitivity

The dental pulp within a tooth helps people detect pressure and temperatures when the teeth come into contact with different items. When a substance is hot or cold in particular, it can set off alarm bells in the brain given the heightened sensitivity of the teeth. The same cannot be said for room temperature and lukewarm items.

Dealing with Temporary Tooth Sensitivity

When you have temporary sensitivity issues, such as those associated with new fillings or teeth whitening treatment, the best option is to stick to lukewarm food and beverages for a few days. You should notice improvements in sensitivity on a day-to-day basis.

Options for Gum Recession and Tooth Damage

If you suffer from gum recession, tooth decay, or damage to a tooth, the best option for treatment will typically involve restorative care in some form.

For tooth damage, the use of a restoration tends to be most ideal. Fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns will protect a tooth and restore its strength.

For gum recession, grafting procedures can be performed in order to rebuild the tissue of the gumline.

Learn More About Tooth Sensitivity Issues

For more information about tooth sensitivity and how it can be effectively treated, be sure to contact our family dental care center today. Out team will help you address all kinds of issues related to dental pain and toothaches.

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Gooch Family Dental

Gooch Family Dental

Gooch Family Dental is dedicated to providing convenient, comprehensive dentistry to the community in Birmingham, AL. We take advantage of the latest dental technology to streamline treatment, and deliver fast, beautiful results. Our proud affiliations include:

  • The American Dental Association
  • Academy of General Dentistry
  • Birmingham District Dental Society
  • The Alabama Dental Association

You can learn more about our services, and schedule an appointment today by filling out our online form, or by calling (205) 991-9892.

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