A long-term programme is often needed for this long-term problem, which may include dietary advice to tackle excessive consumption of acidic foods. Patients may also need advice on change of brushing technique/reduction in brushing frequency, or it may be beneficial to consider not brushing immediately after meals, but at a different time.1

Regular interdental cleaning may also be beneficial.

Treatment in the surgery may include gingival surgery, application of resins, or a pulpectomy, or more recently the use of lasers. Non-invasive treatment options are topical agents and dentifrices that contain a desensitising active ingredient.2 Dentifrice and mouth rinse are available in 'sensitive' variants, containing various active ingredients to reduce sensitivity.

Desensitising agents
Potassium salts Potassium nitrate2 Potassium chloride2 Potassium oxalate3
Other metal salts2 Stannous fluoride Strontium chloride hexahydrate Aluminum, potassium or ferric oxalates and fluorides
Other agents2 Dentin sealers (resins) Sodium citrate Sodium monofluorophosphate


The most common agents are 'sensitive' toothpastes and mouth rinses containing potassium salts. The benefits of a potassium-containing dentifrice have been established for many years and they are generally recommended in this patient group.1,2,4

Mouth rinses are available which contain potassium salts and may help with sensitivity.


  1. Canadian Advisory Board on Dentin Hypersensitivity. Consensus-based recommendations for the diagnosis and management of dentin hypersensitivity. J Can Dent Assoc 2003; 69(4): 221–226.
  2. Walters PA. Dentinal hypersensitivity: a review. J Contemp Dent Pract 2005; 6(2): 107–117.
  3. Camilotti V et al.Desensitizing treatments for dentin hypersensitivity:a randomized, split-mouth clinical trial.Braz Oral Res 2012; 26(3): 263–268.
  4. West NX. The dentine hypersensitivity patient – a total management package. Int Dent J 2007; 57: 411–419.