Winter Wonderland of Tooth Pain
As temperatures drop, your teeth may start to feel the chill. Dental pain caused by cold weather is normal! But why does this happen? And how can we prevent this from happening? Let’s explore some possible causes of tooth sensitivity and discuss solutions to the problems.
1. Naturally sensitive teeth
Cause: Some people may have more sensitive teeth than others. Culture and diet largely affects our teeth. For example, acidic foods & drinks can cause more wear to a tooth than non-acidic foods.
Solution: If you experience regular tooth sensitivity, not caused by cavities or damaged teeth, the first step may be to try a new toothpaste. There are specialized toothpastes made with unique formulas that target sensitivity.
2. Exposed dentin
Cause: Enamel is the outer layer of your teeth. Once the enamel wears away, the next surface (dentin) becomes 7-9x more sensitive.
Solution: First, we need to find out what has caused dentin exposure. Are you grinding your teeth? Is wear due to age a possibility? Are you brushing too hard? Proper treatment can be initiated once the cause is identified.
3. Thermal expansion
Cause: Dental materials, like what is used for tooth colored fillings and metals, are known to contract and expand. Compared to natural teeth, materials can be altered more quickly. Any change in the original dental restoration or improper placement of a restoration can cause tooth exposure which is why cold may be felt more intensely.
Solution: It may be time to replace old restorations. It’s common for fillings to be replaced after a number of years due to fractures and daily wear. The best way to monitor changes in old restorations is by visiting the dentist at least 2x/year.
Cause: Barodontalgia is defined as tooth pain occurring with changes in ambient pressure that is felt like a “tooth squeeze.” This can be felt if your winter vacation takes you to a destination high in altitude.
Solution: If you notice tooth pain when you’re in higher altitudes, make sure you visit your dentist as soon as you’re back from your vacation to rule out any problems.
If the cold weather bothers your teeth, try to keep your mouth warm! Remind yourself to breathe through your nose and let your cheeks and lips serve as insulators. If you notice the cold causing mild-moderate pain or discomfort, don’t hesitate to call River Oaks Dental and schedule an appointment with Dr. Monteiro. Appointments can be requested online at riveroaksdentaljax.com or by calling 904-736-7925.