Dentin Hypersensitivity Treatment


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About Dentin Hypersensitivity

Dentin hypersensitivity (abbreviated to DH or DHS, and also termed sensitive dentin, dentin sensitivity, cervical sensitivity, and cervical hypersensitivity) is dental pain which is sharp in character and of short duration, arising from exposed dentin surfaces in response to stimuli, typically thermal, evaporative, tactile, osmotic, chemical or electrical; and which cannot be ascribed to any other dental disease.

Dentin Hypersensitivity Treatment Options

There is no universally accepted, gold-standard treatment which reliably relieves the pain of dental hypersensitivity in the long term, and consequently many treatments have been suggested which have varying degrees of efficacy when scientifically studied. Generally, they can be divided into in-office (i.e. intended to be applied by a dentist or dental therapist), or treatments which can be carried out at home, available over-the-counter or by prescription. OTC products are more suited for generalized, mild to moderate dentin hypersensitivity associated with several teeth, and in-office treatments for localized, severe DH associated with one or two teeth. Non-invasive, simple treatments which can be carried out at home should be attempted before in-office procedures are carried out.

The purported mechanism of action of these treatments is either occlusion of dentin tubules (e.g. resins, varnishes, toothpastes) or desensitization of nerve fibres/blocking the neural transmission (e.g. potassium chloride, potassium citrate, potassium nitrate).

In-Office Treatment Options

In-office treatments may be much more complex and they may include the application of dental sealants, having fillings put over the exposed root that is causing the sensitivity, or a recommendation to wear a specially made night guard or retainer if the problems are a result of teeth grinding.

Other possible treatments include fluorides are also used because they decrease permeability of dentin in vitro. Also, potassium nitrate can be applied topically in an aqueous solution or an adhesive gel. Oxalate products are also used because they reduce dentin permeability and occlude tubules more consistently. However, while some studies have showed that oxalates reduced sensitivity, others reported that their effects did not differ significantly from those of a placebo. Nowadays, dentin hypersensitivity treatments use adhesives, which include varnishes, bonding agents and restorative materials because these materials offer improved desensitization.

Low-output lasers are also suggested for dentin hypersensitivity, including GaAlAs lasers and Nd:YAG laser. They are thought to act by producing a transient reduction in action potential in C-fibers in the pulp, but Aδ-fibers are not affected.

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