Dr Gillam said that many dentists and patients saw DH as a trivial problem and underestimated its potential impact on quality of life. He added that clinicians shouldn’t generalise when treating patients with DH. ‘They all have their own individual needs and concerns and should be treated individually,’ he said.
He advised dentists to review their diagnosis and treatment and be prepared to go back later and re-diagnose if their original diagnosis seemed wrong, or if the treatment they had advised was not working. Sometimes they might need to use several different products. ‘One glove does not fit all, and you may need to use a combination of over the counter and in-office treatments,’ he said. Most of all the patient must be involved in their treatment and should be educated about the damage caused by poor diet, fizzy or energy drinks, and harmful brushing technique. ‘They need to know what is causing their sensitivity,’ he explained. ‘It’s very easy for the clinician just to give the patient a tube of toothpaste or polish the teeth and send them away. That is of no use if you don’t deal with the problems that caused the sensitivity in the first place.’
Dr Gillam discussed both a diagnosis tool and a treatment path which clinicians can use to get to the bottom of this often-undiagnosed condition.
This was the first in a series of five small excerpts from our recent webinar on dentine hypersensitivity. Next up, we’ll hear what dental hygienist Donna Paton had to say...