Tooth sensitivity can come and go over time. It occurs when the enamel that protects your teeth gets thinner, or when gum recession occurs, exposing the underlying surface, the dentin, and reducing the protection the enamel and gums provide to the tooth and root. This can happen for many reasons, including:
After your dentist determines the cause of your sensitivity, treatment may be as simple as fixing a cavity or replacing a worn filling. However, if your discomfort stems from gum loss exposing root surfaces, your dentist may suggest a gum graft that a periodontist would perform to protect the root surface and support the tooth.
If there isn't a specific cause for your sensitivity, your dentist may apply an in-office fluoride gel to strengthen the tooth enamel and reduce painful sensations. An over-the-counter desensitizing toothpaste may be recommended as well.