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Dentistry/Still sensitive to cold after 9 months.


Hi Dr. Karmen,

Thank you for the opportunity to contact you. Nine months ago I had an indirect pulp cap on one of my molars. It came as quite a shock to my dentist as to how deep the decay had gone as my teeth were fine six months prior to that (including the x-rays) but he said he noticed a 'shadow' at my previous checkup that he hoped would resolve. He said the decay was deep but did not expose the nerve, which he said was a good sign. My dentist applied a glass ionomer liner and an amalgam restoration and sent me on my way.

I have had no issues with the tooth following the indirect pulp cap except for sensitivity to cold, especially ice cream and other extremely cold food and drink. I have absolutely no problems with hot or pressure and aside from the fact I have an ugly amalgam tooth in my mouth, I am pleased with the outcome.

I returned to the dentist nine months after the indirect pulp cap and he has checked the tooth and x-ray and says it was a success. He says the cold sensitivity I am experiencing nine months later is what he considers 'normal' given the depth of the filling and he says it may last for up to two years or, in some cases, it may never resolve. He has said he could perform root canal therapy on the tooth which would resolve the sensitivity but he says one is not needed and that he would be performing it only to resolve the sensitivity. He has also said he could replace the filling but that doing so would risk causing irreversible damage to the pulp.

I was wondering if sensitivity to cold for a year, or longer, is something that is not out of the ordinary with deep fillings and if I am best to carry on as normal? The cold sensitivity lasts for less than ten seconds, but it does catch me by surprise every now and then when I eat or drink something cold.

Thank you for any advice you can give me!

Sarah thank you for your question,

This is one of those things thousands of people wonder about so I hope they read this answer and that you asked this question. What your dentist told you is exactly correct and I would have answered exactly the same way that yours did. He was perfect in what he told you.  To answer your question now it is not uncommon at all so in your terms it's not out of the ordinary.  It's one of those things that occasionally our body can't heal but as long as it gets no worse and the pain does not linger for a few minutes after the cold stimulus I suggest you to carry on.  Thank you again for this great question.

Dr. Karmen


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Thomas Karmen


All general dentistry questions, especially those related to fixed prosthetics. Endodontics, Periodontics, and implants, minor oral surgery I can't answer much about othodontics nor advanced treatment of carcinoma nor deep tissue surgery nor osseous surgery such as jaw reduction or advancement.


DDS In general practice and consulting with having done some lecturing for local dental societies.

ADA and Florida Dental Association and Iowa Dental association

DDS degree

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