Teeth are composed of many tissues, covered by an inflexible and obdurate enamel. Unlike most other tissues, teeth become extremely cold sensitive when inflamed. The mechanisms of this cold sensation are not understood. Here, we clarify the molecular and cellular components of the dental cold sensing system and show that sensory transduction of cold stimuli in teeth requires odontoblasts. TRPC5 is a cold sensor in healthy teeth and, with TRPA1, is sufficient for cold sensing. The odontoblast appears as the direct site of TRPC5 cold transduction and provides a mechanism for prolonged cold sensing via TRPC5's relative sensitivity to intracellular calcium and lack of desensitization. Our data provide concrete functional evidence that equipping odontoblasts with the cold-sensor TRPC5 expands traditional odontoblast functions and renders it a previously unknown integral cellular component of the dental cold sensing system.