Professor Nicola West - Inaugural Lecture

Professor in Restorative Dentistry Professor Nicola West
School of Oral and Dental Sciences

Dentine Hypersensitivity and the acid challenge

Dentine hypersensitivity is a multifactorial condition and of growing concern, becoming increasingly significant in the management of our patients.  People are now retaining their teeth for longer, becoming more aware of their teeth and treatment possibilities, through the internet and other media literature, and expecting their teeth to last them a lifetime.   Dentine hypersensitivity affects about 15% of the healthy dentate patients and 96% of individuals susceptible to periodontal disease.  Is it described as the short sharp pain arising from exposed dentine typically as a result of tactile, chemical, thermal and osmotic stimuli which cannot be ascribed to any other form of defect or pathology.  The continual increase in soft acidic beverage consumption has led to an increase in the prevalence of coronal dentine exposure particularly amongst young adults, as well as being associated with radicualr toothwear, localising and initiating the dentine hypersensitivity lesion.  Interestingly, only a very small area of dentine needs to be exposed to cause the excruciating pain.  This can be confusing, as large areas of exposed dentine may or may not cause pain.  The dentine tubules also need to be patent from the dentine surface to the pulp for pain to be experienced, with current treatment modalities focusing on dentine tubule occlusion, rather than the potassium mode of action to reduce pain.

The lecture took place on Monday 7 November 2011 in the Reception Room, Wills Memorial Building.

Professor Nicola West Inaugural - 7 November