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A 41-year-old member asked:

What causes toothache when it gets cold?

6 doctor answers27 doctors weighed in
Dr. Scott Harwood
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 45 years experience
Inflammation: Sensitivity to cold temperature is a classic symptom of the pulp of a tooth being inflamed. This can be caused by deep decay, recent dental treatment, trauma or exposed roots. See our dentist to have it evaluated.
Dr. Jerry Gordon
Specializes in Dentistry
Nerve changes: When a tooth becomes infected, cold stimulates nerve fibers inside the tooth's pulp. This stimulation is generally perceived as pain, which tells the body that the tooth is "injured" and needs treatment.
Dr. Steven Pohlhaus
Dentistry 32 years experience
Get it checked: An inflamed nerve causes the tooth to respond painfully to cold. An important thing to note is how long the pain lasts. If responds to cold only and lasts just a few seconds this indicates the problem may be reversible and can be fixed with a filling, bite adjustment, or desensitization. If the pain lingers for minutes, needs painkillers, or is spontaneous a root canal may be needed.
Dr. Paul Grin
Pain Management 36 years experience
See your dentist: or endodontist to diagnose the problem before the pain becomes severe. Take care.
Dr. Gary Sandler
Dentistry 54 years experience
Toothache to cold: There is nerve tissue within the tooth whose purpose is to detect stimuli and transmit it to the brain as a protective mechanism. In similar fashion if you hold your hand near fire, the brain says : "careful, danger"? The cause can be from merely extreme cold, to defective filling, to decay, to cervical erosion, a fractured tooth, to exposed nerve, etc. See a dentist to determine which one it is.
Dr. Otto Placik
Dr. Otto Placik commented
Plastic Surgery 34 years experience
Toothpastes are available to diminish pain but you should get the problem evaluated.
May 31, 2015
Dr. Joseph Wineman
Dentistry 40 years experience
A tooth which is sensitive to cold may be reacting normally--if the pain goes away rapidly (like when you stick your front teeth into a ice cream cone) then it is probably a normal response. BUT if the pain lingers then a dental evaluation is recommended.
May 31, 2015
Dr. Randolph Todd
Endodontics 44 years experience
See below: There is a theory, first described by M. Brännström in 1966, which suggested that dentine hypersensitivity is due to movement of fluid within the dentinal tubules in response to mechanical, osmotic, and evaporative stimuli.Cold stimuli cause an outward flow of fluid and hot stimuli cause an inward flow.Contrary to others opinions this is not a "nerve" test. Electric pulp tests confirm neural state

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Last updated Oct 4, 2017
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