A professional dentist is operating on the inside of a patient's mouth in order to alleviate dentin hypersensitivity.

Treating Dentin Hypersensitivity

Dentin hypersensitivity, also called cervical hypersensitivity or teeth sensitivity, is a condition that occurs when a tooth’s exposed dentin loses its protective layer. It is important to know that not all exposed dentin is sensitive.

Normally exposed dentinal surface has a protein layer called a smear layer. This layer covers and protects the dentin from the oral environment. Once this protective coating gets disrupted or removed due to excessive teeth brushing, incorrect oral hygiene, excessive teeth wear, gum recession, or excessive consumption of acidic drinks and foods, the dentinal tubules become exposed to the oral environment and dentinal sensitivity occurs.

Dentin hypersensitivity has several symptoms, including a sharp pain of a very short duration due to factors such as touch, cold air, cold drink, acidic food, or beverages. Pain goes away in a few seconds, but it is very uncomfortable.

A black and white image of a woman holding her cheek due to dentin hypersensitivity.

Diagnosing and treating dentin hypersensitivity is an important part of maintaining your oral health.

Diagnosing and Treating Dentin Hypersensitivity

A diagnosis can be very challenging—and it must be done with careful evaluation so that the correct treatment can be executed. It is best to treat dentin hypersensitivity by closing exposed dentinal tubules. This can be accomplished by the following procedures:

  • Nerve desensitization by potassium nitrate
  • Protein precipitation
  • Plugging dentinal tubules
  • Dentin adhesive sealers
  • Laser therapy

Correct treatment of dentin hypersensitivity should be based on an individual patient’s needs. The severity of condition and specific protocol should be diagnosed by a dentist or dental professional. Treatments are divided into two categories: specific home-care instructions and in-office treatments.

They recommend home-care instructions for specific oral hygiene, which includes the type of toothbrush and technique used to brush your teeth, as well as what specific home-care products to use that contain low abrasives and high-protective agents.

A dental professional should be consulted on diet choices, and he should designate a low-acidic and low-abrasive diet. In-office treatments should be non-invasive as a first choice, and focused on non-invasive therapies to stabilize periodontal condition, if present.


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