Dental Students’ Perception of Dentine Hypersensitivity and Awareness about its Management
Dr. Abdul Majeed,
Assistant Professor, Department of Restorative Dental Sciences, College of Dentistry, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, P.O Box 1982, Dammam 31441, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia.
Introduction: Dentine hypersensitivity is a common painful oral condition that can interfere with drinking, eating, tooth brushing and even breathing. Successful management depends on the identification and elimination of aetiological factors, careful clinical examination and differential diagnosis.
Aim: The purpose of the study was to report dental studentsâ€™ understanding of dentine hypersensitivity and knowledge of its aetiology and management.
Materials and Methods: A total of 218 questionnaires were distributed among dental students who routinely provided treatment to patients at College of Dentistry, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia. The questionnaire consisted of pre-coded and open-ended questions related to the knowledge of students about dentine hypersensitivity. Descriptive statistics were used to summarise data. Pearsonâ€™s chi-square test (Fisher-Exact test as appropriate) was performed to assess differences in male and female studentsâ€™ response at significance level of p<0.05.
Results: The response rate was 75.7% as 165 of 218 students returned the questionnaires. According to participants (66%; n=109), one in four of their patients suffered from dentine hypersensitivity complaint. Nearly 57% (n=92) reported that sensitivity was a severe problem in 25% of their patients with discomfort lasting up to 5 weeks. Majority agreed that patients asked questions about dentine hypersensitivity. About 66.6% (n=110) did not know regarding the steps to diagnose dentine hypersensitivity. Treatment options included at-home (18%; n=30) and in-office desensitising agents (8.5%; n=14), education on appropriate tooth brushing techniques and restorative treatment (16.4%; n=27). Almost 47.3% (n=78) believed that patients complied with professional advice on dentine hypersensitivity. About 55.8% (n=92) highlighted the need to provide patients with an educational leaflet.
Conclusion: Students lacked the knowledge and confidence to manage dentine hypersensitivity in clinics. A comprehensive informational handout should be developed to guide diagnosis, prevention and treatment for both students and patients.