Author(s): Markowitz K, Bilotto G, Kim S
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Abstract Nerve activity was recorded from deep dentinal cavities in the canine teeth to assess the possible influence of potassium and divalent cations in decreasing this activity in hypersensitive teeth. The decreased activity after the topical application of 0.756 mol/l KCl to the cavity was primarily due to the cation. KCl elicited a biphasic response from intradental nerves, an initial transient excitatory response followed by a prolonged inhibitory period. During the inhibitory period 3 mol/l NaCl, an effective excitatory stimulus, failed to evoke intradental nerve activity. However, with time the response to 3 mol/l NaCl eventually recovered to its previous control level. Close, intra-arterial injection of KCl showed the same biphasic response and time-course of intradental nerve activity as with topical application. Therefore, whether KCl was applied topically or injected its effectiveness in altering the nerve activity was similar. Pretreatment of the dentinal cavity with CaCl2, MgCl2 or SrCl2 greatly reduced the response of intradental nerves to KCl. Therefore these divalent cations seem to have a depressant action on pulpal nerve fibres. The mechanism of action of KCl seems to be an alteration of K+ concentration immediately surrounding the intradental nerves which presumably depolarizes the nerve fibre membrane and elicits an initial firing of action potentials. Because of the persisting high levels of extracellular potassium a sustained depolarized state occurs that results in an inactivation of the action potential. Divalent cations appear to depress the excitability of the nerve cell membrane without altering membrane potential. Such ionic agents could be used in conjunction with KCl as a possible treatment for hypersensitive teeth.
This article was published in Arch Oral Biol
and referenced in Dentistry