Tooth Pain Part 1: Hot and Cold

Kids eating ice cream

Blog Highlights:

  • Many things can cause tooth pain, but one of the most common causes is exposure to hot or cold foods and liquids
  • If sensitivity to hot or cold foods and liquids only lasts a few moments this is likely not a serious problem
  • If you experience lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods and liquids you may have inflamed or decaying tooth pulp

Everyone, even if you’re from Orem, Utah, has experienced or will experience some form of tooth pain during their life. It is uncomfortable and inconvenient. Tooth pain occurs when the nerves inside the tooth are irritated or overly stimulated. Many things can cause tooth pain, but one of the most common causes is exposure to hot or cold foods and liquids.

Mild Sensitivity

If sensitivity to hot or cold foods and liquids only lasts a few moments this is likely not a serious problem. Some people’s teeth are naturally more sensitive. It is possible that the sensitivity is a result of some minor decay in the tooth or a slightly exposed root. Root exposure occurs when the gums begin to recede. Gum recession is often caused by aggressive brushing. To avoid or reduce root exposure and any subsequent sensitivity, use a soft toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste made for sensitive teeth to clean your teeth and around the gums. If the frequency and intensity of the sensitivity increase, make an appointment to see your dentist.

Severe and Lasting Sensitivity

If you experience lingering pain after eating hot or cold foods and liquids you may have inflamed or decaying tooth pulp. This is more serious than momentary sensitivity and is often caused by trauma or significant, deeply rooted decay. Often times it is impossible to reverse the damage, but it is imperative that you see your dentist as soon as you can. Your dentist can diagnose the problem and suggest a course of treatment. Typically a root canal is the only option.

Pain After Dental Treatment

Occasionally, you may experience sensitivity to cold or hot food and liquids after dental treatment. This sensitivity is usually the result of inflamed tooth pulp and should only last a few days. If the work on the tooth involved placing a filling or crown it may take up to two weeks for the pain to dissipate. If it lasts longer than that you should see your dentist. In general, over the counter pain relievers should help ease the discomfort.