The usual estimate is that around 30-40% of the population experiences some DH at some stage, but in practice, this figure could be higher. While 17% of dentists believed 40-50% of their patients experienced DH, 22% thought the figure was more like 50-60%, and almost a third (31%) put it at over 60% of their patients.
The poll was taken as part of the recent BioMin webinar on dentine hypersensitivity, where over 700 clinicians signed up to take part and to hear the latest views on DH from a panel of international experts. In order to involve the audience more closely with the presenters, an innovative opinion poll was devised, providing an immediate ‘vox pop’.
Before each speaker, attendees were asked to take part in an interactive online poll, answering questions about their practice and opinions relating to topics within the presentations. Once they had clicked on their response, the results were instantly analysed and put up on the screen where they could be discussed by the following speaker and by the chairperson, Victoria Wilson, a practicing dental hygienist, and presenter. The majority (36%) felt that the age group 30-40 years was the most affected by DH, with about a quarter each believing it was most prevalent in the 20-30 and 40-50 age brackets.
Dr David Gillam, Clinical Reader at the Barts London School of Medicine and Dentistry (QMUL) and Clinical Consultant to BioMin Technologies Ltd, said that figures on the incidence of DH depended on how the practitioner asked about the problem. ‘Clinicians need to ask questions and listen to the patient,’ he advised. Warning that many dentists underestimated the impact of DH on quality of life, he said that difficulties in diagnosis posed a challenge in the management of the condition, and each patient should be approached individually. ‘One glove does not fit all,’ he said.
The poll also revealed that the vast majority of clinicians were not completely confident in managing DH. Just over half (57%) said they were ‘sometimes successful’ at treating DH, while 32% said they did it ‘not as well as they would wish’.
Most felt that the COVID-19 pandemic had had a detrimental effect on their patients’ oral health. The webinar took place just as the British Dental Association announced that over 19 million dental appointments had been missed or cancelled during the lockdown, with detrimental results for a range of oral conditions. Exactly half of the webinar attendees felt they had seen a slight decline in their patients’ oral health, but 26% had seen a significant decline, and 16% felt there was a ‘considerable increase in caries and periodontal disease’.
One possible solution to reducing the appointment backlog and keeping staff and patients safer may be teledentistry. When asked whether they thought this might have a future, 42% of attendees replied ‘definitely’, while 37% said ‘possibly’. A smaller percentage were doubtful.
The final speaker, Dr Stefano Daniele, a dentist and university tutor from Milan, reported his findings from a trial among his patients using BioMin® F for sensitivity relief. His results showed that 73% of those questioned found BioMin F more effective than other toothpastes they had used, while over half found their DH had reduced and 27% said it had completely resolved. Dr Daniele asked if the participants would like to take part in the next study he is planning and 52% expressed interest.
If you would like to take part, email firstname.lastname@example.org, subject “Clinical evaluation”.
A video of the full webinar is available on BioMin’s e-Academy, worth 1 hour + of free GDC-compliant CPD. Register to watch it at www.biomin.co.uk/e-academy