how do you fix dentin hypersensitivity
Dentin hypersensitivity can cause pain and discomfort. Treatment includes at-home and in-office desensitizing therapy or root canal therapy

Dentin hypersensitivity is a common condition caused by exposed dentin, which can result in severe, persistent pain and discomfort. Although it can affect people of any age group, it is mostly seen in people between ages 20-40.

Common triggers for dentin hypersensitivity include:

  • Thermal (hot or cold foods)
  • Chemical (sour foods)
  • Tactile (hard foods)

How is dentin hypersensitivity fixed?

After taking a detailed history of your condition and identifying predisposing factors, your dentist may recommend:

  • At-home desensitizing therapy in mild to moderate cases
  • In-office desensitizing therapy or clinic treatment sessions if the pain is very severe or home therapy isn’t working
  • Endodontic therapy in extreme cases

At-home desensitizing therapy

Your dentist may advise you to use a toothbrush with soft bristles and give you toothpaste, mouthwash, chewing gum, etc., that contain desensitizing agents such as potassium nitrate, potassium chloride, or potassium citrate. Potassium causes diffusion (transport) along the dentinal tubules (internal dentin structure) and reduces the excitability of the interdental nerve fibers by blocking the axonic action.

In-office desensitizing therapy

This therapy can provide immediate relief from symptoms of dentin hypersensitivity. In-office desensitizing agents are materials that undergo a setting reaction (glass ionomer cement and composites) and those that do not undergo a setting reaction (varnishes and oxalates).

Either of these is applied over the dentin as a replacement of the enamel and helps form a protective cover that reduces tooth sensitivity.

Endodontic therapy

This involves removing the dentin-pulp complex of the affected tooth and filling it up. It is commonly known as root canal therapy.

What causes dentin hypersensitivity?

Our teeth are covered with a hard cement-like structure called enamel, under which lies the dentin layer, which has numerous nerve endings.

If there is loss of the protective layer of enamel due to abrasion or tooth decay and the dentin is exposed, this can cause excessive stimulation of the nerve endings and lead to severe pain or discomfort.

How is dentin hypersensitivity diagnosed?

People with dentin hypersensitivity may have symptoms such as chipped or fractured enamel or tooth decay. Many complain of pain or irritation when that part of the tooth is exposed to hot or cold foods.

To assess the severity of the condition, your dentist may apply slight pressure or a jet of air on the affected tooth and monitor your response.

How can dentin hypersensitivity be prevented?

It’s important to maintain good oral hygiene on a regular basis, which can help prevent tooth decay and damage to the enamel. 

Poor hygiene, faulty brushing techniques, using a toothbrush with hard bristles, using abrasive toothpaste, and excessive scrubbing can lead to erosion of the enamel layer.


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Medically Reviewed on 9/28/2021