Patient perspectives and desired outcomes: the impact of dentine hypersensitivity and the need for evolving solutions
What is dentine hypersensitivity?
As clinicians we characterise dentine hypersensitivity (DH) as a short, sharp, pain arising from exposed dentine in response to stimuli, typically thermal, evaporative, tactile, osmotic or chemical, which cannot be ascribed to any other form of dental defect or pathology (Holland et al, 1997).This definition suggests the diagnosis of DH is objective, determined by the clinician following measurement or observation of an indicator of the condition. However, since the indication of DH is pain, a large component of DH diagnosis is subjective as the clinician cannot measure this, and must rely on the patient to convey what their pain is like. It is very important therefore, to consider the patient perception of DH pain and what it is like to live with when managing the condition and developing potential solutions.