Management of Dentin Hypersensitivity by National Dental Practice-Based Research Network practitioners: results from a questionnaire administered prior to initiation of a clinical study on this topic

BMC Oral Health. 2017 Jan 13;17(1):41. doi: 10.1186/s12903-017-0334-0.


Background: Dentin hypersensitivity (DH) is a common problem encountered in clinical practice. The purpose of this study was to identify the management approaches for DH among United States dentists.

Methods: One hundred eighty five National Dental Practice-Based Research Network clinicians completed a questionnaire regarding their preferred methods to diagnose and manage DH in the practice setting, and their beliefs about DH predisposing factors.

Results: Almost all dentists (99%) reported using more than one method to diagnose DH. Most frequently, they reported using spontaneous patient reports coupled with excluding other causes of oral pain by direct clinical examination (48%); followed by applying an air blast (26%), applying cold water (12%), and obtaining patient reports after dentist's query (6%). In managing DH, the most frequent first choice was desensitizing, over-the-counter (OTC), potassium nitrate toothpaste (48%), followed by fluorides (38%), and glutaraldehyde/HEMA (3%). A total of 86% of respondents reported using a combination of products when treating DH, most frequently using fluoride varnish and desensitizing OTC potassium nitrate toothpaste (70%). The most frequent predisposing factor leading to DH, as reported by the practitioners, was recessed gingiva (66%), followed by abrasion, erosion, abfraction/attrition lesions (59%) and bruxism (32%).

Conclusions: The majority of network practitioners use multiple methods to diagnose and manage DH. Desensitizing OTC potassium nitrate toothpaste and fluoride formulations are the most widely used products to manage DH in dental practice setting.

Keywords: Dentin hypersensitivity; National Dental Practice-Based Research Network.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Dentin Sensitivity / diagnosis*
  • Dentin Sensitivity / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Practice Patterns, Dentists' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • United States