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Cold Weather and Sensitive Teeth

tooth ache independenceBRRR…its cold outside! Is the cold weather making your teeth hurt?

Are you hoping for spring weather already? With these cold Missouri temperatures, your teeth may be feeling the same way. Millions of adults, or one out of every eight individuals, in the United States suffer from sensitive teeth at some point in their lives. As temperatures drop, people with sensitive teeth will start to experience pain and discomfort in their teeth. When your teeth already ache, exposing them to cold winter air can be just as painful as drinking hot or cold beverages, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. We experience a multitude of changes in temperatures in our mouth throughout the day, especially, our front teeth that are exposed to temperature differences as much as 110 degrees several times in a single day.

Why do my teeth hurt when the air is cold?

Breathing cold air through our mouths can cause our teeth to contract and then expand again when heated back to normal body temperatures. Sudden changes in temperature can cause the dentin or the calcified tissue that acts as the second layer of the tooth, expanding and contracts faster than the enamel, causing stress that may result in cracks forming. These cracks are small, invisible to the naked eye, and typically to not compromise the structure of the tooth, however, they can cause uncomfortable sensitivity in your teeth. The pain that you feel when your teeth are exposed to cold temperatures is caused by the movement of fluid within tiny tubes that are located in the dentin, which lead to nerve irritation.

Colder temperatures can also cause you to clench your jaw and grind your teeth together without realizing it, causing, even more, pain and discomfort. If your teeth ache when exposed to cold temperatures there is a good chance that it is a result from one of the following reasons listed below:

  • Defective fillings with open gaps.
  • Defective crown or bridge margin that has suffered damage from food.
  • Cracked teeth.
  • Periodontal disease causing recessed gums.
  • Jaw clenching or teeth grinding.
  • Tooth or gum infections.
  • Cavities or porous and sensitive teeth.
  • Large metal fillings.

Additional Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

When our gums recede our teeth become more sensitive. Gums start to shrink away from the roots of our teeth exposing the tiny pores and tubules that cover the roots. This discomfort usually does not last long and only affects the nerve because the microscopic nerve endings on the roots have been exposed by brushing too hard or using a brush with bristles that are too hard. The pain can be excruciated during the moments the nerve endings are touched. Treatment can be as simple as switching out your toothbrush and using a desensitizing toothpaste to having your local dentist apply a fluoride coating to the exposed and sensitive areas to block out the pain.

Surprisingly, allergies and sinus issues may also be responsible for the pain you are feeling. Because of the location of your sinuses, the pain and pressure are often mistaken as tooth pain.

When to See a Dentist

The best way to deal with pain in your teeth from the cold is to take preventative measures before the pain worsens. If your teeth are highly sensitive to the cold for more than a week, we recommend that you visit your local dentist to perform a diagnosis. If you let the pain go untreated for too long it could results in more severe dental issues later on. Only a dentist would be able to determine the true source of your pain. If you are suffering from tooth sensitivity in these cold temperatures contact the dentists at ABC Dental in Missouri!

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