It's cold outside, my teeth hurt!

Nov 01, 2021

AUTHOR: Mandy Dennis, RDH

Patients with extreme dentin sensitivity typically do not need a thermostat to let them know cold weather is coming. Patients may experience jolts of sensitivity just from opening their mouth or breathing through their mouth while outside. Many resources are available for these types of situations and to help these individuals. A patient could be forever grateful if you are able to help them resolve this problem.


As the cool weather months are approaching, many of us are welcoming the lower temperatures. However, this isn’t necessarily the case for those who experience dentin sensitivity with cold drinks, cold food and now cold weather. Dentin hypersensitivity can occur if dentin is exposed and open tubules are present, and a trigger is present - such as cold air. Being able to explain to patients that the pain is caused by movement of fluid in open dentin tubules helps them understand how it happens, as does letting them know that heat, cold, air and touch can all act as a trigger and cause this rapid movement of fluid in open dentin tubules. When patients understand what causes the pain, they are also more likely to follow through with using the products you recommend. Questions such as “when do you experience sensitivity?” are very important. Understanding the context and the frequency of dentin hypersensitivity a patient experiences will help determine your recommendations.

What’s out there

One option for fast sensitivity relief is to use a product that contains Pro-Argin technology. This technology contains arginine, an amino acid naturally found in saliva, and calcium carbonate. Together, these form a calcium-rich layer on the dentin surface and block open dentinal tubules, providing relief from sensitivity. Colgate Professional Sensitivity Relief Serum contains Pro-Argin , and provides relief from sensitivity in 1 minute when applied with a fingertip and massaging it into the area. The serum can be applied prior to treatment, for example a prophy, allowing patients to have a more comfortable dental experience. Afterwards, patients can take the tube away with them for home use. Another options is Colgate PreviDent 5000 Sensitive a prescription-level fluoride toothpaste that contains 1.1% sodium fluoride, as well as 5% potassium nitrate as a desensitizer. This product is used twice-daily and indicated for adults and children 12 years-of-age and older. While the potassium nitrate relieves sensitivity, this prescription-level paste also provides added protection against dental caries, including root caries.

Are the products dispensed?

Colgate Professional Sensitivity Relief Serum is available for purchase within the office or you can recommend this product through Colgate Professional Direct and your patient can receive it at their door. It is not available at the store as an over-the-counter product. Colgate PreviDent 5000 Sensitive is only available by prescription, and can either be dispensed in the dental office or at a pharmacy.


  • Patients with sensitive teeth may suffer from it in cold weather when the air is cold.
  • Patients need to understand why this happens and need helpful solutions with supported information on how the products will help!

Sensitivity relief is more than just a simple gesture for many people. Your patients will be grateful for the extra time you have given them to resolve an issue which affects their everyday life!

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