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J Ir Dent Assoc. 1997;43(1):7-9.

Prevalence of dentine hypersensitivity in a general dental population.

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Department of Restorative Dentistry, School of Clinical Dentistry, Queen's University, Belfast.


The aim of this study was to determine, by questionnaire, the reported levels of dentine hypersensitivity in adult patients attending general dental practice. A total of 250 subjects (88 males, aged 40 +/- 14.3 years; 162 females aged 37 +/- 11.6 years), were recruited to the study in 5 dental practices. The prevalence of reported sensitivity was 57.2%, most frequently occurring in the 30-39 year age group. In the vast majority of cases (89.3%) cold was the major stimulus for pain, other commonly reported causes being toothbrushing (38.6%), hot (37.9%) and sweet (25%) stimuli. Desensitising toothpastes were used by 67.9% of those reporting sensitivity, the majority of these (72.6%) reporting a beneficial effect. Professional treatment had been sought by 32% of subjects, almost all (91%) reporting an improvement post-treatment. There was no significant correlation in the level of reported sensitivity and previous periodontal treatment. The majority of subjects with sensitivity also smoked (67.6%), although this relationship did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.07). Visual analogue scales indicated that perceived pain levels with dentine sensitivity were relatively low. It was concluded that the prevalence of dentine sensitivity found in this study was much higher than previously reported, suggesting an increase in the levels of sensitivity within the general population.

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