Background: A high number of periodontitis patients report dentin root sensitivity (DRS) following treatment for periodontitis. Common treatments for DRS include various prescription and over-the-counter products to obtund the effect or interrupt nerve transmission of the painful stimuli.
Clinical question: Does a defined desensitizing treatment (8% arginine, calcium carbonate) applied after periodontal treatment prevent or reduce DRS symptoms?
Summary of methods: A randomized controlled clinical trial was conducted to compare the efficacy of an 8% arginine, calcium carbonate, in-office prophylaxis paste in combination with an 8% arginine, calcium carbonate, 1,450-ppm fluoride at-home toothpaste regimen (n = 38) with that of a control regimen of fluoride-free, in-office prophylaxis paste in combination with a 1,450-ppm fluoride at-home toothpaste (n = 36) in lessening the effect of DRS after periodontal therapy. The test and control in-office treatments were applied in week 1 (following nonsurgical treatment) and week 9 (following surgical treatment). The at-home treatments were ongoing throughout the study. DRS was evaluated using a visual analog scale and a Schiff score six times throughout the study.
Critical appraisal: The overall study design and sensitivity measures selected for the study were appropriate for the clinical question; however, the study was single blinded, not double blinded as claimed. The addition of a positive control and the elimination of the at-home regimen could have given clarity to the reason for a reported increase of DRS for the control group. This study indicates the potential for the application of arginine paste to reduce DRS after periodontal nonsurgical and surgical treatment.