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VOLUME 2 , ISSUE 1 ( Winter Issue, 2001 ) > List of Articles


Clinical Dentin Hypersensitivity: Understanding the Causes and Prescribing a Treatment

Peter L. Jacobsen, Gretchen Bruce

Citation Information : Jacobsen PL, Bruce G. Clinical Dentin Hypersensitivity: Understanding the Causes and Prescribing a Treatment. J Contemp Dent Pract 2001; 2 (1):27-34.

DOI: 10.5005/jcdp-2-1-27

License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Published Online: 01-11-2004

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2001; The Author(s).


Dentin hypersensitivity is a common condition of transient tooth pain associated with a variety of exogenous stimuli. There is substantial variation in the response to such stimuli from one person to another. Except for sensitivity associated with tooth bleaching or other tooth pathology, the clinical cause of dentin hypersensitivity is exposed dentinal tubules as a result of gingival recession and subsequent loss of cementum on root surfaces. The most widely accepted theory of how the pain occurs is Brännström's hydrodynamic theory of dentin hypersensitivity. Dentinal hypersensitivity must be differentiated from other conditions that may cause sensitive teeth prior to treatment. Three principal treatment strategies are used. Dentinal tubules can be covered by gingival grafts or dental restorations. The tubules can be plugged using compounds that can precipitate together into a large enough mass to occlude the tubules. The third strategy is to desensitize the nerve tissue within the tubules using potassium nitrate. Several over-the-counter products are available to patients to treat this condition.

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