What Causes a Tooth to Suddenly Become Sensitive to Hot and Cold?

This is a question that just came to me today.

Here are just two examples of possible causes:

1.  Obvious large/extensive decay which exposes the hot and cold food/beverages to the nerve inside the tooth.

2.  Bite trauma.  Excess pressure on a tooth when biting can cause the tooth to become sensitive to hot and cold.  Grinding/clenching your teeth in your sleep can traumatize the bedding of nerves surrounding the root of your tooth.  Following the episode of bite trauma, the tooth usually needs some time to recover, and the sensitivity can go away.  However, repeated uncontrolled bite trauma to a tooth can cause the nerve inside the tooth to die, leading to the need for a root canal treatment.

If you experience consistent hot and cold sensitivity with your teeth, then be sure to bring it to your dentist’s attention before the problem becomes more involved.


Alex Nguyen, DDS is a Saratoga Dentist who practices General Dentistry, Cosmetic, and Implant Dentistry. For over 20 years the practice has been serving the residents of Santa Clara County and San Francisco Bay Area.

About alexnguyen

My career passion is to help enhance, restore, and preserve people's smiles View all posts by alexnguyen

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