Tooth sensitivity is relatively common and can present in a variety of forms. Some people experience generalized sensitivity and some only experience it in specific teeth. The sensitivity can vary in intensity and duration depending on the cause. Either way, tooth sensitivity is a nuisance and can prevent people from enjoying certain foods.

Common causes of Sensitivity
If you have recently experienced trauma to a tooth, (for example if you fell) it is normal to experience sensitivity as the nerve of your tooth may be ‘concussed’ – just like when you fall and hit your head. Depending on the severity of the trauma, the pain will either diminish on its own or possibly get worse in which case it is recommended to have it evaluated at the dentist.
If you have gum recession, the roots of your teeth become exposed. Your roots are naturally more sensitive than the crowns of your teeth. The outer layer of your crowns is called enamel, enamel is more resistant to sensitivity than cementum (which is the outer layer of the root).
Some people experience sensitivity due to a compromised enamel (outer layer of the teeth). This can be caused by tooth wear, erosion, cavities, cracks or broken teeth.
If you have recently had a filling or crown done, it is normal to experience sensitivity for up to a few months afterwards sometimes. If the pain does not diminish by this point or starts to get worse, consult your dentist to evaluate the status of your nerve.

Treatment
The treatment for sensitive teeth depends on what the cause is. If you have generalized sensitivity, a sensitive toothpaste such as Sensodyne or Crest Pro-Relief may help to decrease the symptoms. Your dentist can also apply a more permanent desensitizer called fluoride varnish in office. This type of varnish can reduce sensitivity for up to a month after application. For sensitivity due to gum recession, the treatment is to correct the cause by doing a gum surgery to bring the position of the gums back to their original position. Alternately, we can place fillings to cover up the exposed root surface or even just apply fluoride varnish. If you have experienced a trauma or had a recent filling and are experiencing sensitivity, you can monitor the symptoms and see if they diminish on their own. If not, they should be evaluated by your dentist.