Why Tooth is Sensitive to Hot and Cold?

tooth sensitivity - Sriramakrishnahospital

The human tooth, though small in size, plays a pivotal role in our daily lives. From biting into a juicy apple to flashing a confident smile, our teeth contribute significantly to our overall well-being. Have you ever experienced a sharp pain in your teeth after sipping on a hot cup of tea or coffee? Or even while eating your favorite ice cream? Well, that sharp tooth pain is called teeth sensitivity. 

What is meant by teeth sensitivity?

Teeth sensitivity usually happens when the dentin, the layer beneath your teeth, is exposed. Erosion and gum recession are two possible causes of tooth sensitivity

The pulp, the core of the tooth, is reached by thousands of tiny tubules found in the tooth roots that aren’t shielded by hard enamel. The dentinal tubules, also known as channels, facilitate the passage of stimuli, such as hot or cold or sweet food to the tooth’s nerve causing pain. 

What are major reasons for developing tooth sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity isn’t something that develops overnight. It develops through a few months or years due to a few habits. The major reasons for developing sudden tooth sensitivity are:

Enamel erosion:

One of the primary causes of tooth sensitivity is the erosion of enamel. Enamel is designed to withstand the daily wear and tear of chewing, biting, and other activities. However, it is not impervious to damage. Consuming acidic foods and beverages, such as citrus fruits and sodas, can gradually erode the enamel over time. When the enamel wears thin, the dentin underneath becomes exposed, leading to a heightened sensitivity.

Moreover, aggressive brushing habits and using a hard-bristled toothbrush can contribute to enamel erosion. The best dentists in Coimbatore recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush and employing gentle brushing techniques to protect the enamel and prevent sensitivity.

Dentin hypersensitivity:

The dentin layer, with its tubular structure, plays a crucial role in tooth sensitivity. When the protective enamel is compromised, the dentin becomes susceptible to external stimuli. The microscopic tubules within the dentin connect to the nerve endings in the pulp, creating a direct pathway for sensations to reach the nerves. This connection is vital for the tooth’s normal function, but when exposed, it can lead to heightened sensitivity, especially to hot and cold temperatures.

Imagine the dentin tubules as tiny channels that transmit stimuli directly to the nerve endings, causing discomfort. Factors such as enamel erosion, gum recession, and cavities contribute to the exposure of these tubules, intensifying tooth sensitivity.

Gum recession:

Gum recession, a common dental issue, occurs when the gum tissue surrounding the teeth pulls back, exposing more of the tooth’s surface. This exposes the vulnerable dentin, making the tooth susceptible to temperature sensitivity. Poor oral hygiene, aggressive brushing, and certain medical conditions can contribute to gum recession.

Addressing gum recession involves maintaining good oral hygiene practices, using a soft-bristled toothbrush, and seeking professional dental care when needed. Early intervention can prevent further recession and reduce the likelihood of increased tooth sensitivity.


Dental caries, another name for cavities, are patches of surface decay on teeth. When left untreated, cavities compromise the integrity of the enamel, creating openings for temperature stimuli to reach the dentin and nerves. The demineralization process, driven by acid-producing bacteria in the mouth, weakens the enamel and accelerates tooth sensitivity.

Regular dental check-ups and preventive measures, such as fluoride treatments and proper oral hygiene, are crucial for cavity prevention. Timely intervention can halt the progression of cavities and mitigate the risk of heightened sensitivity.

Cracked teeth:

Sometimes, tooth sensitivity stems from physical damage to the tooth such as cracks or fractures. A cracked tooth exposes the inner layers, including the dentin, to external stimuli. Activities like chewing on hard objects, clenching or grinding the teeth, or experiencing a traumatic injury can contribute to tooth fractures. 

Addressing a cracked tooth requires a professional dental evaluation. Depending on the severity of the crack, treatment options may include bonding, dental crowns, or in more severe cases, extraction and replacement with dental implants. 

What are the ideal treatment options for tooth sensitivity?

The skilled dentists advise consulting a dentist if your tooth pain is severe or persistent, or if your sensitivity lasts longer than 30 seconds after coming into contact with a very high or low temperature. These are all indicators that you may have a gum disease, exposed nerves, cavity, or infection severe enough to require medical attention, such as:

A crown placement, bonding, or inlay:

One of these techniques could be used by your dentist to fix a broken, damaged, or decaying tooth.

Root canal procedure:

In order to remove infected or inflammatory tooth pulp, which is located in the tooth’s center where blood vessels and nerves are located, your dentist may perform a root canal procedure. They will then seal and fill it.

Application of fluoride gel:

Your tooth enamel will be strengthened and your brain will receive fewer pain signals if you use fluoride gel and various toothpastes that work as a remedy for sensitive teeth. 

What are the best tips to prevent teeth sensitivity?

There are several ways to prevent teeth sensitivity few best tips include:

Maintain proper oral hygiene:

Use fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush with soft bristles to brush your teeth twice a day. To get rid of debris and plaque from in between your teeth, floss every day.

Watch your diet:

Limit the consumption of acidic foods and beverages. Opt for a balanced diet rich in calcium and phosphorus, essential minerals for maintaining strong teeth and prevent teeth sensitivity.

Regular dental checkups:

Schedule routine dental check-ups to detect and address potential issues early. Professional cleanings and preventive treatments can go a long way in maintaining optimal oral health.

Stay hydrated:

Adequate saliva flow is essential for oral health. Stay hydrated to promote saliva production, especially if you are taking medications that may cause dry mouth.

Important Takeaway:

By adopting a proactive approach to oral health, practicing good oral hygiene, and seeking professional dental care when needed, individuals can minimize the risk of tooth sensitivity and enjoy a pain-free, confident smile for years to come. Reach out to the best dental hospitals in Coimbatore to seek the best treatment for teeth sensitivity.

tooth sensitivity - Sriramakrishnahospital

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