So what options do we have? Document the sites of gingival recession and identify the cause and intensity of pain. Keep in mind?the cause may be a lifestyle or habit that patients may or may not be willing to change!
During hygiene appointments, we do not have the luxury of time to play around with a desensitizing product that, well, takes time to work! When selecting a product, we need precise placement without tissue damage. Here are a few options out of many to consider chairside. (Over-the-counter and take-home desensitizing products will be another blog entry!)
AcquaMed's AcquaSeal comes in individual swabs. Its liquid flows to end of swab when you bend the stem. Its active ingredients are benzalkonium chloride and fluoride. Depending on how many areas are involved, I've been able to use one swab per arch. I've also given the patient a few swabs to take home if they are whitening or have lifestyle habits they aren't willing to change.
Centrix Glu/Sense is supplied in a syringe with foam tip needle, which is great for controlling potential tissue sensitivity with the ingredient gluteraldehyde. Its direct delivery system is swift to use. Just be diligent in changing out the tip each time of use till product is gone.
Colgate's Pro-Relief prophy paste is smooth and patients like the taste. Its ingredient is Pro-Argin, which is calcium carbonate and arginine--an amino acid found naturally in saliva. Apply the paste for 3 seconds to sensitive area then repeat. This may take the most time during appointment depending on how many areas are sensitive. A realistic estimate would be 6-8 seconds per tooth. That said, I'll use this throughout the entire mouth to polish as it will remove light stain before hand or ultrasonic instrumentation.
On average, the timeframe these products are effective for our patients are about 4-8 weeks. Some are longer, which is a bonus! The key is to ask your patient this: "On a scale of 1-5, 5 being excruciating, what number would you say fits your current pain level?" This answer will guide you with what to use immediately! Now it's up to us to document and monitor what was used, where it was used, and how long it lasted following the hygiene appointment?
Share your experiences with desensitizing effectively and swiftly chairside!
Anastasia challenges dental professionals to continually raise the standard of patient care. She is an author in several dental industry publications and is published as an oral health source for numerous online consumer-based sites. Her weekly video blog on YouTube; Anastasia's Hump Day Happenings answers questions from the general public on oral health topics. Anastasia is a spokesperson, independent consultant, working with several companies to develop website content, social media presence, continuing education programs and in-office training for dental hygiene departments on product integration with team communication.