Do you ever experience dental hypersensitivity (aka sensitive teeth)? We as dental professionals hear on a daily basis the frustration of tooth sensitivity.
Dental hypersensitivity is defined as a “short, sharp pain” arising from exposed dentin in response to stimuli which cannot be ascribed to any other form of dental defect or pathology. These stimuli are typically thermal evaporative, tactile, osmotic or chemical. When a patient experiences this type of sensitivity it can lead to the patient neglecting oral hygiene, failing to comply with oral care instructions or avoid dental visits all together which can increase the risk of dental complications.
CAUSES OF DENTAL HYPERSENSITIVITY–is typically found in patients whose dentin has become exposed by gingival recession, periodontal therapy or loss of tooth enamel due to toothbrush abrasion, erosion or tooth wear. It has been researched that approximately 55-75% of patients experience tooth sensitivity during tooth whitening treatments.
TREATMENT OF DENTAL HYPERSENSITIVITY–will depend on the cause of the pain using differential diagnosis. Typically treatment will include topical desensitizing agent.
MANAGEMENT OF DENTAL HYPERSENSITIVITY–prevention is the most cost effective treatment option. Once the sensitivity is present the first step would include cessation of destructive habits such as aggressive or vigorous cross brushing and recommend twice daily use of a desensitizing toothpaste. If the sensitivity toothpaste does not give relief the next step would include an in office topical application of a desensitizing agent.