Discovering new treatments for sensitive teeth

The long path from biology to therapy

K. Markowitz, David Henry Pashley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

111 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Tooth sensitivity is a common dental pain condition where sufferers experience brief episodes of sharp well-localized pain when their teeth are subjected innocuous stimuli such as cold, air-currents and probing with a metallic instrument. In this review, we will make no attempt to describe all the treatments that have been developed to treat tooth sensitivity. We will review the basic anatomic and physiological mechanisms responsible for sensitivity. The insights into the dental lesions responsible for tooth sensitivity, as well as the physiological processes linking stimuli and pain generation have suggested several treatments and preventive strategies. Unfortunately, many tooth sensitivity treatments fail to perform better than placebos in clinical trials that seek to assess the effect of agents on pain symptoms. In the case of the most commonly used self-applied desensitizing agent, potassium salts, the mechanism of action established by laboratory and animal models may not apply to clinical use. Thus results obtained with laboratory and animal models must be applied with care to clinical use. Clinical literature suggests that tooth sensitivity is the symptomatic manifestation of significant dental problems, such as wear and other forms of non-carious tooth structure loss. These conditions are increasing in frequency as people age, retaining their natural teeth longer. They are frequently the consequences of aggressive oral hygiene practices and diets rich in acids. Treatments directed at the underlying causes rather than the symptoms of tooth sensitivity would hinder the development of these lesions and provide researchers with objective targets for assessing therapeutic efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-315
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Oral Rehabilitation
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008

Fingerprint

Dentin Sensitivity
Tooth
Pain
Therapeutics
Animal Models
Physiological Phenomena
Tooth Loss
Oral Hygiene
Potassium
Salts
Air
Placebos
Research Personnel
Clinical Trials
Diet
Acids

Keywords

  • Dentin
  • Intradental nerves
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Treatments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

Cite this

Discovering new treatments for sensitive teeth : The long path from biology to therapy. / Markowitz, K.; Pashley, David Henry.

In: Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, Vol. 35, No. 4, 01.04.2008, p. 300-315.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Markowitz, K. ; Pashley, David Henry. / Discovering new treatments for sensitive teeth : The long path from biology to therapy. In: Journal of Oral Rehabilitation. 2008 ; Vol. 35, No. 4. pp. 300-315.
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