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Over the Counter and Professional Desensitizing Products

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Let's review a few possible scenarios you may face in deciding which home care product will be a fit:

  1. Sensitivity is intermittent and mainly to cold or air
  2. Sensitivity is tactile related
  3. Sensitivity is mainly noticeable with tooth whitening
  4. Sensitivity is accompanied with demineralization, high caries risk, or dry mouth
  5. Sensitivity is just plain everywhere

It?s all about the ingredients and what they can do. Here is the line up of both over the counter and professionally dispensed desensitizing products.

Over the Counter Products

Potassium Nitrate has been the core ingredient for over the counter sensitivity toothpastes for years. Its role is to depolarize the nerve. Recommended use for Potassium Nitrate toothpaste is 2 weeks. If sensitivity has not been reduced, it is time to go to another option.

A few examples of over the counter toothpastes with Potassium Nitrate are Colgate Pro-Relief, Sensodyne, and Crest Sensitive.

In cases where I've polishe dwith Colgate Pro-Relief chairside, which the ingredient is Pro-Argin, I'll give patients Pro-Relief toothpaste, which is also found over the counter. Note: Pro-Argin is not found in OTC toothpaste, but Potassium Nitrate is.

Most OTC toothpastes are idea for sensitivity on the lower end of the spectrum, or for a low intensity of pain (scale 1 to 5). Many require 5 or more steps to use the product and there can be a side effect of tissue irratation.

Professionally Dispensed Products

MI Paste is a great product that is proven to remineralize enamel and offer relief to dry mouth, but based on my experience, I've had many patients that use dual products to get results from sensitivity and oral health.

If you have used AcquaMed's AcquaSeal swabs chairside, then throw in a few for your patients to take home. They are easy to apply and effective for whenever sensitivity strikes!

NUPRO Sensodyne and Soothe RX are 2 options that are professionally dispensed. In addition, you may polish with NUPRO Solutions and recommend patients use Soothe RX for home care, since Novamin is in both products. Novamin has tiny bioactive glass occludes or plugs dentinal tubules and remineralized enamel. It has some antimicrobial demineralization.

CPP-ACP (casein phosphopepetide-amorphous calcium phosphate), or Recaldent, is another option for patients with sensitivity and demineralization.

My Recommendation

Until we discover a consistent method to measure sensitivity pain, my recommendation is always to go back to the intensity of pain (scale 1 to 5) and align it with the patient's health history and lifestyle.

Share what's worked for you and your patients!

Click here to read Desensitizing Part 1.

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.

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