Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 787 adult patients from 37 general dental practices within the Northwest PRECEDENT practice-based research network was conducted from September 2010 to May 2011. A diagnosis of dentin hypersensitivity was determined by asking patients on randomly selected half-days “Have you recently had pain, sensitivity, or discomfort in your teeth or gums?” For positive responses, a clinical exam ruled out alternative causes of pain. Patients rated pain using a 100 mm visual analog scale (VAS) after a one second air blast to the most sensitive tooth. Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE) multiple binomial regression models were used to relate the prevalence of dentin hypersensitivity to patient characteristics.
Results: The prevalence of dentin hypersensitivity was 12.3%. Patients with hypersensitivity had, on average, 3.5 [95%Confidence Interval (CI)=2.5-4.5] hypersensitive teeth and a VAS of 25 (95%CI=18-32); 11% very frequently felt uncomfortable due to the hypersensitive teeth whereas 84% felt uncomfortable occasionally. Prevalence of dentin hypersensitivity was higher among 18-44 years old adults when compared to 65+ years old adults [Prevalence Ratio (PR)=3.5; 95%CI=1.7-7.1]; among females when compared to males (PR=1.8, 95%CI=1.2-2.8); and in the presence of gingival recession (PR=5.4, 95%CI=2.9-10.0).
Conclusion: Prevalence of adult dentin hypersensitivity in Northwest PRECEDENT general practices was low. Dentin hypersensitivity patients were more likely to be younger adults and females and had a high prevalence of gingival recession.
Submitted on behalf of Northwest PRECEDENT; NIDCR grants DE016750/DE016752.
Keywords: Dentin hypersensitivity and Pain