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    Posted January 25, 2022.

    We've all experienced the occasional discomfort of cold ice cream on teeth (usually along with brain freeze), a temporary condition that ends once our ice cream is gone. However, if your tooth routinely hurts when you breathe in - i.e. it's reacting to the cooler air - it may be caused by one of more of the following:-

    1) A sensitive root. As we get older our gums are more prone to recede. This exposes part of the tooth root. Roots have nerve endings in them and can react to cold, sweet, touch and heat. The remedy is to build a barrier to protect the exposed nerve endings, either by having the tooth build one itself (using desensitizing toothpastes and mouthwashes) or by placing an artificial barrier in the form of a filling. In some unlucky people, the discomfort can be so exquisite that a root canal (removing the nerve from the tooth) is required.

    2) Sensitivity to air can also be aggravated by any other irritation to the tooth - a deep filling, tooth decay, an acid reflux problem, or recent dental treatment.

    3) If part of a tooth has broken off, or part of a filling is missing, the tooth can become sensitive to air. A filling or cap would them be required to remedy the situation.

    4) Mild or moderate trauma can cause a temporary sensitivity to cold - (if a tooth is bumped.)

    Persistent sensitivity to temperature is a classic symptom of the pulp of the tooth being inflamed. If the cause is decay, then the dentist will need to remove the decay and place a filling. If the tooth has a sharp pain that occurs on its own, without being provoked by cold or air, this could indicate possible irreversible pulpitis (nerve death) and need root canal treatment.

    To determine exactly why your tooth (teeth) is sensitive, a dental exam with one of our Doctors is the only way to determine the exact cause.

    Please remember, we are always here to answer your questions about your dental health, and look forward to hearing from you. If you have a question you would like answered in a blog post please e-mail us at

    Your Gentle Dentists - Dr. Simmons

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