A breakthrough therapy for dentin hypersensitivity: how dental products containing 8% arginine and calcium carbonate work to deliver effective relief of sensitive teeth

J Clin Dent. 2009;20(1):23-31.


Objective: These studies have utilized a range of state-of-the-art surface techniques to gain insight into the mechanism of action of a new technology for dentin hypersensitivity relief based upon arginine and calcium carbonate and, in particular, to address important questions regarding the nature and extent of dentin tubule occlusion.

Methods: Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM) have been used to assess tubule occlusion. Energy dispersive x-ray (EDX) and electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis (ESCA) have been used to identify the composition of the dentin plug. CLSM has also been used to compare the mechanism of action of the toothpaste and the desensitizing prophylaxis paste, to address whether both the arginine and the calcium carbonate components are essential to occlusion, to identify the location of the arginine within the occluded dentin, and to demonstrate resistance of the occlusion to acid challenge. Hydraulic conductance has been used to assess the effectiveness of the arginine-calcium carbonate technology in arresting dentin fluid movement, to evaluate the effects of pulpal pressure on the robustness of the occlusion, and to confirm the resistance of the occlusion to an acid challenge.

Results: The CLSM, SEM, and AFM studies demonstrate that the arginine-calcium carbonate technology is highly effective in rapidly and completely occluding dentin tubules. The EDX and ESCA studies show that the dentin surface deposit and occluded tubule plug contain high levels of calcium and phosphate, as well as carbonate. CLSM has confirmed that the toothpaste and the desensitizing prophylaxis paste have the same mechanism of action, that the arginine and calcium carbonate components are both essential to the effectiveness of these products, and that the arginine becomes incorporated into the dentin plug. The hydraulic conductance studies demonstrate that the occlusion provided by the arginine-calcium carbonate technology results in highly significant reductions in dentin fluid flow, and that the tubule plug is resistant to normal pulpal pressure and acid challenge.

Conclusion: A breakthrough technology based upon arginine and calcium carbonate provides clinically proven benefits with respect to rapid and lasting relief of dentin hypersensitivity. It is unique in that two of its key components, arginine and calcium, are found naturally in saliva, and that the arginine and calcium carbonate work together to accelerate the natural mechanisms of occlusion to deposit a dentin-like mineral, containing calcium and phosphate, within the dentin tubules and in a protective layer on the dentin surface.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arginine / pharmacology*
  • Beverages / adverse effects
  • Calcium Carbonate / analysis
  • Calcium Carbonate / pharmacology*
  • Calcium Phosphates / analysis
  • Dental Pulp / physiology
  • Dentin / drug effects*
  • Dentin / ultrastructure
  • Dentin Sensitivity / pathology
  • Dentin Sensitivity / physiopathology*
  • Dentinal Fluid / drug effects
  • Dentinal Fluid / physiology
  • Drug Combinations
  • Electron Probe Microanalysis
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Materials Testing
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Pressure
  • Spectroscopy, Electron Energy-Loss
  • Toothpastes / pharmacology*


  • Calcium Phosphates
  • Drug Combinations
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Toothpastes
  • Arginine
  • calcium phosphate
  • Calcium Carbonate
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate