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Does tooth sensitivity to cold mean a cavity?

I am a 25 year old male. I want to know if tooth sensitivity to cold means a cavity?

14 Answers

Not always, it can be from tooth grinding called Bruxism and sleep problems.
It is possible that sensitivity to cold could indicate a cavity, but you may also simply have sensitive teeth or tooth exposure at the gumline from enamel abrasion.
Tooth sensitivity to cold is a common symptom. Sometimes it indicates a cavity. Many times, it may be related to gingival recession, meaning the gum tissue has receded and not a cavity. Sinusitis commonly causes upper posterior teeth to be sensitive to temperature.
No. It could be due to an exposed root-
Not always. It could mean you have root exposure due to recession. It could mean you have excessive tooth wear due to a clenching or grinding habit. You could have small cracks in the teeth. If you have a new clenching habit or traumatic occlusion, this can lead to sensitivity. A recent tooth trauma like getting hit in the mouth can also cause tooth sensitivity in the short term. Please schedule an appointment with your family dentist to have it properly diagnosed as there are different treatment options to help with each of these scenarios.
Not necessarily.... Sensitivity to cold could also mean that the root is exposed (due to gum recession) or the enamel could be chipped or worn down from grinding your teeth. The best thing to do is have a dentist evaluate the tooth. If it is a cavity, you want to address it when the cavity is small so that the tooth stays as strong as it can. When cavities get very large, the fillings have to be large and this weakens the tooth's integrity long term.
Cold sensitivity is fairly common and can have multiple causes: 1) It could indicate that you have a cavity. This, and sometimes sweet sensitivity, are early indicators that there may be an issue that you need to have looked at. 2) Clenching and grinding can put excessive pressure on a tooth and essentially "bruise" the ligament surrounding a tooth and cause inflammation, which results in cold sensitivity that can come and go. 3) Young people tend to struggle with tooth sensitivity more. When we are young, the nerves in our teeth are much larger, making them more reactive to hot and cold stimulus. This may be the culprit if all of your teeth tend to be sensitive, not just one tooth. 4) Receding gums can also cause increased sensitivity on a tooth. With gum recession, the actual root of the tooth (which is the more sensitive part of the tooth) becomes exposed and will quickly tell you that it doesn't like it. 5) Sinus inflammation
and sinus infections can also cause increased sensitivity to cold on the top back teeth. This is especially more prevalent in the spring and fall when allergens are at their peak. Long story short, the cause of your sensitivity could be any one of the above. If you have not seen a dentist in a while, I highly recommend seeing a dental professional to nail down which one of these could be contributing to your discomfort. I would also like to note that if at any point you start having lingering pain to cold, then it is likely a cavity or a fracture that needs immediate attention.
Tooth sensitivity does not mean cavity. In general, sensitivity to sweet means possible cavity.
Could be. Also, keep in your mind the recession of your gum and the exposure of your roots made the same sensitivity.
No, not always. I suggest keeping track of how long the tooth has been bothering you, and how long the sensation lasts so you can accurately describe it to your dentist.

David Yue, DDS, FAGD, FIALD
Hi!

To determine what is causing cold sensitivity, please reach out to your dental team for an evaluation. 


Not usually. Sensitivity to sweats is more indicative of a cavity.
Yes also could be gum recession
Not necessarily. Many times people experience sensitivity from root recession, from brushing too hard. Sometimes it's from grinding or sinusitis. Some people just have sensitive teeth. A dental exam will find the cause and best treatment plan to resolve the issue.