Dentine hypersensitivity – Australian dentists’ perspective


Dr Najith Amarasena
Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health
School of Dentistry
The University of Adelaide
Adelaide SA 5005


Background:  Dentine hypersensitivity is a frequent clinical presentation though inadequately comprehended by dentists. The objective of this study was to describe Australian dentists’ perception on the occurrence, predisposing factors, triggers, diagnosis and management of dentine hypersensitivity.

Methods:  Eight hundred dentists were randomly selected using the Australian Dental Association membership list and invited to participate in a questionnaire-based survey.

Results:  Out of 295 responding dentists, 284 private practitioners were included in the final analysis. Most dentists perceived that the occurrence of dentine hypersensitivity was <20% and commonest among 30–49 year olds. According to them, abrasion and gingival recession were the main predisposing factors whilst cold stimuli were the commonest trigger. A differential diagnosis-based approach was adopted by a majority to diagnose dentine hypersensitivity although routine screening was resorted to by a few. Most dentists were aware of the current mechanisms underlying dentine hypersensitivity whereas the majority perceived that ongoing predisposing factors was the main reason for dentine tubules to remain exposed. The commonest management strategy employed by most dentists was to prescribe desensitizing agents for home use.

Conclusions:  Australian dentists’ perception of dentine hypersensitivity is generally consistent with the current scientific consensus on this subject.