Author(s): Gillam DG
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: The aim of this overview is to consider the problems that may be associated with making a diagnosis of dentin hypersensitivity (DHS) and to provide a basis for clinicians to effectively diagnose and manage this troublesome clinical condition. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A PUBMED literature research was conducted by the author using the following MESH terms: ('diagnosis'[Subheading] OR 'diagnosis'[All Fields] OR 'diagnosis'[MeSH Terms]) AND ('therapy'[Subheading] OR 'therapy'[All Fields] OR 'treatment'[All Fields] OR 'therapeutics'[MeSH Terms] OR 'therapeutics'[All Fields]) AND ('dentin Sensitivity'[MeSH Terms] OR ('dentin'[All Fields] AND 'sensitivity'[All Fields]) OR 'dentin sensitivity'[All Fields]). Variations to the above MeSH terms using terms such as 'cervical', 'dentine' and 'hypersensitivity' as substitutes were also explored, but these searches failed to add any further information. RESULTS: The literature search provided only limited data on specific papers relating to the clinical diagnosis of DHS by dental professionals. Evidence from these published studies would therefore indicate that clinicians are not routinely examining their patients for DHS or eliminating other possible causes of dental pain (differential diagnosis) prior to subsequent management and may rely on their patients' self-reporting of the problem. Furthermore, the findings of the Canadian Consensus Document (2003) would also suggest that clinicians are not confident of successfully treating DHS. CONCLUSIONS: It is apparent from reviewing the published literature on the diagnosis of DHS that there are a number of outstanding issues that need to be resolved, for example, (1) is the condition under- or overestimated by dentists, (2) is the condition adequately diagnosed and successfully managed by dentists in daily practice, (3) is the impact of DHS on the quality of life of sufferers adequately diagnosed and treated and (4) is the condition adequately monitored by clinicians in daily practice. These and other questions arising from the workshop forum should be addressed in well-conducted epidemiological and clinical studies in order for clinicians to be confident in both identifying and diagnosing DHS and subsequent management that will either reduce or eliminate the impact of DHS on their patients' quality of life. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Clinicians should be made aware not only of the importance of identifying patients with DHS but also of the relevance of a correct diagnosis that may exclude any confounding factors from other oro-facial pain conditions prior to the successful management of the condition.
This article was published in Clin Oral Investig
and referenced in Dentistry