Prevalence and distribution of dentin hypersensitivity and plaque in a dental hospital population

Quintessence Int. 2001 May;32(5):372-6.


Objective: Dentin hypersensitivity (DH) is a commonly reported dental problem. Conflicting results on the degree of plaque accumulation at sites with DH have been reported. Therefore, the prevalence and distribution of DH and dental plaque were studied in a dental hospital population.

Method and materials: A total of 302 adult patients were examined for the presence of DH by means of a questionnaire and intraoral examinations. Oral hygiene was measured by Silness and Löe's Plaque Index.

Results: The overall prevalence of DH was 52.6%. Significantly more women complained of DH than men. Dentin hypersensitivity and Plaque Index scores were found to be significantly higher in the older age group than in younger groups. Spearman's correlation test revealed no correlation for DH with plaque. About half of the patients reported DH for a duration of within 1 month, while 23% claimed that their DH lasted for 1 to 5 years. Approximately 64% of the patients reported that sensitivity did not interfere with their ability to eat, drink, or brush their teeth, with slight to moderate discomfort, while 11.4% had a severe concern, thereby avoiding these activities most of the time. Of the patients, 17% received professional treatment, while 25% used desensitizing toothpastes. Dentin hypersensitivity was found in all types of teeth, but was most common in first molars and mandibular incisors and canines.

Conclusion: Because there was no correlation for DH with plaque, a careful assessment of the etiologic or predisposing factors must be considered before attempting the management of patients complaining of hypersensitive teeth.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Dental Plaque / complications*
  • Dental Plaque Index
  • Dentin Sensitivity / epidemiology
  • Dentin Sensitivity / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oral Hygiene Index
  • Prevalence
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires