Management of dentin hypersensitivity by practitioners in The National Dental Practice-Based Research Network

J Am Dent Assoc. 2017 Oct;148(10):728-736. doi: 10.1016/j.adaj.2017.05.003. Epub 2017 Jun 16.


Background: Dentin hypersensitivity (DH) is a condition commonly encountered in clinical dental practice. The authors conduct a study to identify the treatments recommended to manage DH among dentists in the United States.

Methods: The authors conducted a multicenter study of 1,862 patients with DH who received a diagnosis and were treated by 171 dentists with The National Dental Practice-Based Research Network.

Results: The most common treatment recommended was desensitizing over-the-counter (OTC) potassium nitrate toothpaste (alone or in combination with other treatments) for 924 of 1,862 patients (50%). This was followed by an application of fluoride varnish (FV) for 516 patients (28%) and a prescription for fluoride toothpaste for 314 patients (17%). Restorative treatments were recommended to 151 patients (8%). The most common single treatment recommendation was desensitizing OTC potassium nitrate toothpaste, recommended to 335 patients (18%). The most frequent combination of 2 treatment modalities was FV and desensitizing OTC potassium nitrate toothpaste, recommended to 100 patients (5%). A total of 890 of 1,862 patients (48%) with DH received a recommendation for 1 treatment modality, and 644 of 1,862 patients (35%) received a recommendation for a combination of 2 treatment modalities, most frequently an application of FV along with desensitizing OTC potassium nitrate toothpaste (100/1,862; 5%).

Conclusions: Desensitizing OTC potassium nitrate toothpaste and fluoride products were the most widely recommended products to manage DH in the practice setting.

Practical implications: Our results suggest that most network clinicians preferred noninvasive treatment modalities when treating DH.

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

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dentin Desensitizing Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Dentin Sensitivity / diagnosis
  • Dentin Sensitivity / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Fluorides, Topical / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nitrates / therapeutic use
  • Potassium Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Practice Patterns, Dentists' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Toothpastes / therapeutic use
  • United States


  • Dentin Desensitizing Agents
  • Fluorides, Topical
  • Nitrates
  • Potassium Compounds
  • Toothpastes
  • potassium nitrate