How to Diagnose Tooth Sensitivity to Cold

If you suffer from tooth sensitivity to cold items, then you know just how painful this ailment can be. Sensitivity to changes in temperature is a problem that affects a majority of the population. For most people who suffer from hypersensitive teeth, the problem is usually chronic. But sometimes a tooth can suddenly become reactive to even the slightest changes in temperature.

Why So Sensitive?

Tooth sensitivity to cold is usually a sign of inflamed pulp of the tooth. Most often, decay is the cause for cold sensitivity. This is not always the case, though. Take a look at the following issues that can cause sensitivity to cool items:

Deep Decay: A deep cavity is the number one cause for sensitivity to cold. This is not a simple fix, though. If left untreated, a deep cavity will result in the need for extraction or root canal work. Save your teeth and see a dentist early!

Fillings, Crowns, or Orthodontia: Recent fillings or crowns can cause sensitivity to cold. This is because the tooth has undergone recent trauma and is swelling in an attempt to repair itself. In these cases, sensitivity should go away once the tooth has a chance to repair and settle. If the sensitivity gets worse over time, you may need to see a dentist immediately, as this is a warning sign of a more serious problem.

Exposed Roots: If a root is exposed due to the receding of gums or recent dental issues, you could begin to be sensitive to cold. In these cases, teeth are also frequently sensitive to air and the evaporation of saliva. –

Tooth strain: If you’ve recently had an accident involving knocking one of your teeth, your sensitivity to cold could be heightened. This should go away soon, once your tooth has healed.

What Can You Do?

Depending on the underlying cause, there are a variety of different ways to treat a tooth sensitive to cold. If the cause is due to a cavity or deep root decay, you’ll need to see a dentist immediately before the problem gets any worse. If you can’t decipher what’s causing your pain, though, take some efforts to minimize the hurt until a doctor can diagnose your problem. Often, placing a small round of dental wax over the tooth will prevent cold from becoming a problem. Next, find out exactly what sort of stimuli bothers your tooth. This evidence can help you and your doctor find out what’s wrong.


Davari AR, Ataei E, Assarzadeh H. Dentin hypersensitivity etiology, diagnosis and treatment; a literature review. J Dent Shiraz Uni Med Sci. 2013; 14(3):136–45. Accessed February 11, 2018.

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