Ever woken up to a toothache? Chances are it was caused by pulpitis, an inflammation of the dental pulp, a collection of nerves and blood vessels inside your tooth. A mild pulpitis can cause symptoms of cold sensitivity. If the condition is allowed to progress, then it can lead to lots of pain and suffering. The most common cause of pulpitis is decay. Bacteria can get down inside a cavity and form acids and toxins that can injure the pulp (nerve). If allowed to continue unchecked, it can lead to much discomfort and to pulpal death. Another cause of pulpitis can be exposed roots. Normally a tooth has an enamel coating, but if the gums begin to recede, then cementum and dentin can be exposed. Dentin has microscopic tubules that lead to the nerve. Bacteria can get into these tubules and can cause sensitivity. For temporary relief of pulpitis until you can get to a dentist, the best thing is an anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen. Pharmacies may have toothache drops which have oil of cloves in it or temporary filling material (zinc oxide and eugenol) to plug the hole. Once at the dental office, if decay is the cause of the pulpitis, then the dentist many times can simply remove it and place a filling. If the pulpitis is due to receded gums, then the dentist can apply a desensitizing agent on the root surface to help alleviate the pain.