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Keywords:

  • dentine sensitivity;
  • pain;
  • prevalence;
  • questionnaire

Previous studies have reported on dentine sensitivity (DS) prevalence in hospital and general practice populations. Results from these studies indicate that perception and prevalence of DS vary depending on the population. The study aimed to determine any major differences in the perception and prevalence of DS in subjects in a military training establishment. Questionnaires from 228 subjects [188 completed by males, 39 completed by females, with one person not indicating their gender of mean age 24·0 years (s.d. 7·16)] were collected and analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Fifty percent of the subjects (n=114) claimed to have DS. Yet approximately 30% of the subjects (29·8%, n=68) perceived the condition as a slight problem and approximately 40% of the subjects (40·8%, n=93) claimed it was an occasional problem and approximately 50% (49·1%, n=112) did not seek treatment. Seventeen subjects (7·5%) used a desensitizing paste during periods of discomfort. No clear pattern emerged with regard to seasonal variation in DS although 5·7% (n=13) subjects considered DS to be more of a problem in winter. Only 7·9% (n=18) reported any previous periodontal surgery, consistent with previous studies (12·6 and 15·5%). Of those who received regular scaling (27·2%, n=62), only 23 (10·1%) reported any discomfort following treatment, which did not last ≥5 days. The results indicate that self-reporting of DS was similar to previous reports, although it is of fundamental importance that such studies should be supplemented with a thorough clinical examination to determine more reliable prevalence data.