There are many dental conditions that can cause your teeth to hurt when cold wind blows or when the temperature outside is very low. And while this article is not a substitute for coming in to the office to see exactly why your teeth hurt, the most likely cause of your discomfort is gum recession.
What is Gum Recession?
Gum recession is a very common condition that happens in a large percentage of adults and even in some younger adults and teenagers. Our teeth are naturally supported in the mouth by structures including the bones of the jaw and the gum tissue itself. When the gum tissue starts to pull back, or recede, the roots of the tooth can start to get exposed, leading to sensitivity.
What Causes Gum Recession?
Gum recession is caused by many different factors, some of which can combine to make recession even worse than one causative factor alone. Some of these factors include:
- Toothbrush type
It is imperative that you use a soft toothbrush, as medium and hard-bristle brushes can lead to recession. In the past it was thought that medium and hard brushes should be used, but we now know that the roughness of these bristle types can injure the gums over long periods of time.
- Brushing habits
In the past many patients were told to "scrub" their teeth in order to do a proper job of home care, and we now know that hard brushing is not a good approach. Instead, it's important that you brush your teeth and gums, and that you do so in a gentle fashion. It doesn't take much pressure to get your teeth clean and combining a soft toothbrush with a gentle but thorough touch can help keep your mouth healthy and prevent recession.
- Wear and tear
Our teeth and gums are working overtime every day of every week of every year. And over time, the wear and tear from eating, drinking, and talking can lead to limited gum recession. Naturally you still need to eat and drink and talk; however, some patients are simply more susceptible to recession vs. other patients. It's a similar situation with cavities -- one family member may have no cavities, while a sibling could have extensive tooth decay.
- Ill-fitting restorations
Another common cause of gum recession is fillings or crowns that don't fit properly. On occasion, a filling can be too close to the gum, or a crown can be too bulky, and these situations can lead to recession. Oftentimes you can prevent further recession from occurring by placing a new filling that's not as close to the gums (if possible) or making a new crown that fits a little better.
Dentists Can't Always Steer Clear of the Gums
Please note that sometimes it's just not possible to make a filling or a crown that doesn't slightly affect the gums. There are always treatment tradeoffs, and in some cases, it might be better to risk a small amount of recession vs. that of a more extensive restoration such as a crown, or a gum procedure - or both.
Contact Us Today
Whether your pain is from recession or cavities, and regardless of the cause of your recession, we can help make it comfortable again for you to eat and drink hot and cold foods. Call us or contact us today to make an appointment.