Why is my tooth sensitive to cold?
Many issues can contribute to tooth sensitivity. The primary reason is a cavity. When there is a cavity on a tooth, there is a hole that communicates with the inside of the tooth.
The depth of the cavity relates to how cold or hot sensitive a tooth can be. As the cavity gets deeper and deeper, we get closer and closer to exposing the nerve. The sensitivity that you feel is a response of the nerve in the tooth that is normally fully insulated by enamel.
When a cavity exists, the treatment is a filling. We remove the bacteria and rotten tooth structure within the cavity and fill the hole with a tooth-colored filling material to restore the tooth.
When the tooth is sealed up again, there will be no more communication with the inside of the tooth and tooth sensitivity will subside.
A tooth can also become cold or hot sensitive if there is occlusal trauma. Occlusal trauma usually happens shortly after dental work such as fillings or crowns is done, and if the bite is not adjusted properly, every time you bite down, that particular tooth will be hitting first.
Over time, the repeated hitting first of this tooth will become bruised and can lead to pain upon chewing as well as cold or hot sensitivity. Once the filling or crown is adjusted so that your bite hits evenly, then symptoms should slowly go away in a few weeks as the tooth heals and recovers.
Lastly, teeth can be sensitive if there are sinus issues going on. Teeth can also be randomly sensitive for no particular reason. When there is no detectable reason for tooth sensitivity, we generally recommend the use of Sensodyne toothpaste, ACT Fluoride rinse, and sometimes even MI Paste, as all of these products contain desensitizing agents that really help with sensitivity. We normally like this conservative approach first and if symptoms do not improve, then we will reevaluate.