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Don’t Let Tooth Pain Ruin Your Hot Cocoa!

We’re finally getting a taste of fall here in Florida. Most of us welcome a little relief from the heat, and this weekend certainly gave it to us. But just as you’re curling up to enjoy that first sip of nice hot cocoa… uh oh, tooth pain. We’ve talked about sensitivity before, but heat sensitivity deserves a closer look.

Why Teeth Become Sensitive

Each person’s dental anatomy is a little different. Some people have more sensitive teeth than others just because of the way their teeth grew in. Sometimes, teeth become sensitive from years of aggressive brushing or clenching and grinding. As we age, our teeth can actually become less sensitive as the nerves shrink.

Recent dental work or whitening treatments frequently cause temporary sensitivity that should fade over time. Similarly, using harsh toothpastes, especially if they have whitening ingredients, can make your teeth feel sensitive. Switching products will usually take care of this type of sensitivity.

Teeth may be sensitive to temperature changes, acidity and sugar, or pressure. Each type of sensitivity tells your dentist something different.

As a general rule, if your sensitivity is generalized across many teeth, if it is mild, and if the main trigger is temperature changes (hot or cold food and drink), then it’s probably nothing to worry about. Nine times out of ten, your dental team here at Lake Baldwin Dental will probably reassure you that a little Sensodyne will help. We may recommend a night guard to relieve pressure and give you some brushing guidance.

Mild, generalized sensitivity is usually nothing much to worry about. If you tell us hot coffee makes one particular tooth hurt, though, we’re going to want to take a closer look.

Why Is Heat Sensitivity Important?

In general, immediate pain or discomfort after eating something hot is a more significant symptom than cold sensitivity, especially if it is limited to one tooth in particular. In this case, we will usually want to take a close-up x-ray of the entire root of the tooth in question, and we may do a test to make sure the tooth is vital.

Tooth vitality means that the nerves inside the tooth are still active and healthy. In some cases, the nerve inside a tooth may die, and it can throw out some very uncomfortable sensations on the way. Random aching or throbbing is definitely something we need to know about as well.

As the nerve dies, the pulp (soft inner core) of the tooth may become inflamed. There may also be a “bubble” at the tip of the root. In both cases, hot foods and beverages will get your attention when they hit the affected tooth.

What Happens Next

If we find that your heat-sensitive tooth has a nerve problem, we may recommend a visit to an endodontist to be evaluated for root canal therapy. If the heat sensitivity is coming from an area of severe decay or a very deep crack, and the tooth is not a good candidate to be restored, we may recommend taking it out.

However, if the nerve is doing okay and the tooth appears stable, we will probably recommend some extra fluoride and some desensitizing treatments. No matter what, your dental team will take care of you the whole way and get you out of pain as fast as possible so you can get back to enjoying that eggnog latte. (Side note, have you tried it? It’s amazing.)

Stay warm, Orlando!



Lake Baldwin Dental

950 Lake Baldwin Lane
Orlando, FL 32814



Office Hours

  • Monday: 9:00am - 4:30pm
  • Tuesday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Wednesday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • Thursday: 7:00am - 3:00pm
  • Friday: Closed
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

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