Historically, postoperative pain associated with temperature was considered a thermal conduction problem. More recently, pulpal hydrodynamics has been used to explain this sensitivity. Relative to restorations placed with dentin bonding agents that require a separate etching step, agents that include an acidic primer are believed to result in a better seal of the dentinal tubules. This study compared pain associated with a standardized cold stimulus in two groups of restorations. One group was placed with a self-priming resin that required a separate etch step, the other with a self-etching, self-priming dentin bonding agent. This was a community-based, randomized, double-blind clinical trial. Two hundred and nine restorations were placed for 76 participants. All teeth were asymptomatic at the start of the trial. Immediately following application of a standardized cold stimulus, participants rated the pain for each restored tooth using a Visual Analog Scale (VAS). For each group of restorations, VAS scores at 13 weeks were compared to preoperative scores. In addition, the preoperative score was subtracted from the 13-week score, and the two groups of restorations were compared. For both groups of restorations, the median scores were significantly reduced at 13 weeks. This decrease in the VAS score reflects a reduction in sensitivity below that which existed preoperatively. There was no significant difference between the two groups of restorations in terms of change in sensitivity at 13 weeks.
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