The everyday impact of dentine sensitivity: Personal and functional aspects

Barry J. Gibson*, Olga V. Boiko, Sarah R. Baker, Peter G. Robinson, Ashley P S Barlow, Tess Player, David Locker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

3 Citations (Scopus)


Research of oral health status and research of the impact of oral conditions on everyday life have been developed over the past 30 years. To date, the degree to which these measures can be applied to the problems and impacts associated with dentine sensitivity is not clear. Regarding research of dentine sensitivity, it appears that there has been very little research of its everyday impact.Objective: The aim of this study was to explore the impact of dentine sensitivity on everyday life.Method: Participants were purposively recruited from a general population with the specific aim of securing a range of experiences and views about the everyday impact of dentine sensitivity. Participants were currently experiencing sensitivity in their teeth and were adults (older than age 18 years) and were initially recruited using the research team's contacts and through snowball sampling. Data were analyzed through the use of a framework generated from the data and informed by the literature on chronic illness, coping, and illness beliefs, along with the general literature on the biopsychosocial impact of oral health. Data analysis also focused on detailing the range of impacts associated with the condition.Results: A total of 23 interviews were conducted. Fifteen participants were female and eight were male. The principal impacts on everyday life were described as pain, impact on functional status, and impact on everyday activities such as eating, drinking, talking, toothbrushing, and social interaction in general. Impacts appeared to be related to a range of individual and environmental influences.Conclusions: The data indicate the depth and complexity of the pain experiences associated with dentine sensitivity. Accordingly, it is suggested that there is a relationship between factors such as the length of one's illness and the degree of control one has over the condition. These findings confirm similar findings in the psychological literature on pain. The findings of this study confirm that further research into the everyday nature of dentine-sensitive pain would be beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDentine Hypersensitivity: Developing a Person-centred Approach to Oral Health
PublisherJAI-Elsevier Science Inc
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780128016589, 9780128016312
Publication statusPublished - 28 Aug 2014


  • Dentine hypersensitivity
  • Dentine sensitivity
  • Experience of oral conditions
  • Quality of life


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