The Speed of Sensation: Tooth Sensitivity

A delicious bite of ice cream can suddenly turn into a jolt of pain if you have sensitive teeth. That’s because the human body is engineered to feel any pain fast. In fact, the entire process from nerve stimulation to actual sensation takes just milliseconds.

To understand how we experience sensation, check out how the brain registers pain by the numbers.

Text that reads speed by the numbers

The Speed of Pain

Timer that reads .6 milliseconds

That’s all it takes for your brain to register the twinge of pain you may feel from a bite of ice cream.


About 14x faster than a standard camera shutter speed.


Almost 150x faster than a single flap of a hummingbird’s wings.


Up to 350x faster than the blink of an eye.

Sharp Pain vs Dull Pain

Interestingly, not all pain sensations travel at the same speed.

Speedometer that reads 67 MPH

Sharper pains travel much faster due to the specialized nerves that are responsible for transmitting them to the brain.

Speedometer that reads 4.5 MPH

Dull pains are transmitted at a slower rate due to the different sets of nerves that are involved.

Sensodyne Rapid Relief

Knowing how fast these sensations are felt—particularly pain—it’s important to find tooth sensitivity relief that works quickly. That’s why Sensodyne Rapid Relief toothpaste is engineered for speed, helping you beat sensitivity pain fast. It uses a unique formulation with stannous fluoride to quickly create a protective barrier over the sensitive areas of your teeth. So you can get proven pain relief in just 3 days.*

*With twice daily brushing

Sensodyne Rapid Relief sensitivity toothpaste