Relief for Sensitive Teeth

Desensitizing toothpaste and dentine bonding agents worked to relieve tooth sensitivity

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Sensitive teeth can ruin a great meal, but relief may be closer than you think.

In people with sensitive teeth, pain can be brought on by eating hot or cold beverages and food. The cause of sensitive teeth is unknown, but many people have some tooth enamel loss or gums that don’t properly cover the affected tooth.

Several products are marketed as solutions to the pain of sensitive teeth. Researchers in the United Kingdom conducted a study to find out which ones actually worked.

The researchers found that toothpastes that claim to reduce teeth sensitivity and dentine bonding agents applied by a dentist worked to reduce the pain of sensitive teeth.

"Tell your dentist if you have sensitive teeth."

Thomas Lamont and Nicola Innes from the Dundee Dental Hospital and School at the University of Dundee, in Dundee, Scotland summarized a research study by P.A. Brunton and other researchers at the Leeds Dental Institute at Clarendon Way, Leeds, UK.

Dr. Brunton’s study involved 72 people with at least one sensitive tooth. Patients were divided into three groups. One group used regular toothpaste, one group used toothpaste for sensitive teeth (desensitizing toothpaste), and one group had a dentine bonding agent applied by the dentist.

Dentine bonding agents are materials that are applied to the teeth to create a protective covering.

Using a VAS pain scale, the patients rated their degree of pain from tooth sensitivity several times during the study. Pain ratings were done at the beginning of the study and 2 weeks, 3 months and 6 months later.

At the first pain rating and at 6 months, a blast of air was given to the tooth root to create a source of sensitivity. The pain ratings at 2 weeks and 3 months were done at home without an air blast.

Results of the VAS pain ratings showed that tooth sensitivity was significantly reduced by use of desensitizing toothpaste and by dentine bonding. Dentine bonding produced the lowest VAS pain scores and showed the greatest improvement in tooth sensitivity at 2 weeks and 6 months.

Limitations of the study were that the patients included did not have other teeth problems, however, the authors stated that results of using  toothpaste for sensitive teeth or dental bonding might be even better in these patients. Also, the study did not have details on how often patients used the toothpastes.

The authors of the study summary stated the importance of the dentist’s role to provide early detection of gum problems and enamel loss so that some measures can be taken to keep the conditions from getting worse.

“This study supports the practitioner in applying a desensitizing agent and additionally recommending patients use desensitizing toothpastes to give some relief from dentinal hypersensitivity,” the authors noted.

The study summary was published in the December edition of Evidence Based Dentistry.

Review Date: 
March 14, 2014
Last Updated:
March 16, 2014