The effects of outward forced convective flow on inward diffusion of potassium across human dentin

David H. Pashley, Kelli Agee, Yi Zhang, Anita Smith, Edward A. Tavss, Robert J. Gambogi

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Abstract

Purpose: To measure the inward flux of potassium across human dentin disks, in vitro, in the absence and then in the presence of a simulated pulpal pressure (PP), before and after brushing with two desensitizing dentifrices. Materials and Methods: Dentin discs were made from extracted unerupted third molars and etched with 6% citric acid to remove the smear layers. The hydraulic conductance (Lp or outward fluid movement) of the discs was measured before and after brushing for 2 minutes with two desensitizing dentifrices, Colgate Sensitive Maximum Strength or Sensodyne Fresh Mint, both dentifrices containing 5% potassium nitrate. The potassium flux was measured at a pressure of 0 cm H2O, and a simulated pulpal pressure of 20 cm H2O. Results: The results showed the Colgate-brushed specimens had lower Lp (P< 0.05) than specimens brushed with Sensodyne or with saline. The Colgate-brushed specimens had a corresponding lower K+ flux, at a PP = 0 cm H2O, than specimens brushed with saline, but were not significantly different than specimens brushed with Sensodyne dentifrice. However, when the pressure was increased from 0 to 20 cm H2O, to simulate outward dentin fluid pressure, there were significant decreases in K+ flux across all three treatment groups, but the K+ flux of the Colgate-brushed specimens were affected the least, resulting in the Colgate-brushed specimens having significantly (P < 0.05) greater K+ fluxes than the saline or Sensodyne dentifrice-brushed groups. The magnitude of reduction in K+ flux in going from 0 cm H2O to 20 cm H2O was demonstrated to be linearly related to the magnitude of the Lp of the brushed specimens. Hence, a small Lp corresponded to a small reduction in K+ flux, and a correspondingly large K+ flux at 20 cm H2O. An explanation of this phenomenon is that a decrease in the Lp of dentin, produced by brushing, corresponds to a decreased outward dentin fluid flow. This lowers the outward K+ convective flow and also lowers the inward K+ diffusion. However, since the decrease of the outward K+ convective flow is greater than the decrease of the inward K+ diffusion, and the net flux is the algebraic sum of these two terms, the result is greater net inward K+ flux through the dentin. Therefore, the Colgate-brushed specimens, which exhibited the lowest Lp, provided the greatest inward K+ flux at simulated dentin fluid pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-261
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of dentistry
Volume15
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2002

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

Cite this

Pashley, D. H., Agee, K., Zhang, Y., Smith, A., Tavss, E. A., & Gambogi, R. J. (2002). The effects of outward forced convective flow on inward diffusion of potassium across human dentin. American journal of dentistry, 15(4), 256-261.