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Postoperative Hypersensitivity and its Relationship to Preparation Variables in Class I Resin-Based Composite Restorations: Findings from the Practitioners Engaged in Applied Research and Learning (PEARL) Network. Part 1


Journal Article

Berkowitz, G.; Spielman, H.; Matthews, A.; Vena, D.; Craig, R.; Curro, F.; Thompson, V.

Compend Contin Educ Dent




BACKGROUND: This study investigated postoperative hypersensitivity at 1, 4, and 13 weeks following resin-based composite (RBC) restorations of occlusal caries and its relationship with prepreparation (baseline) sensitivity and preparation-related variables, including dentin caries activity, cavity dimension and volume, and lesion radiographic visibility. METHODS: Investigators in a practice-based research network enrolled patients with occlusal caries deemed to require operative treatment. The 45 dental practitioners then placed restorations using their preferred techniques. Complete baseline data on 665 restorations from 602 patients included patient-reported sensitivity (pre-preparation); dentists' ranking of dentin caries on opening the enamel; measurements of preparation depth, width, and length; and patient demographics. At 1, 4, and 13 weeks post-treatment, patients anonymously reported any sensitivity to hot and cold stimuli, sweets, clenching, and chewing, as well as quality-of-life indicators related to the restorations. RESULTS: At baseline, 30% of teeth had reported sensitivities of ≥3 on an anchored scale from 0 to 10 points and were designated as appreciable hypersensitivity (AH). Appreciable hypersensitivity at baseline was related to lesion radiographic visibility and patient age but not to dentin caries activity ranking, type of posterior tooth, gender, or race/ethnicity. Patients reported on 491 restorations at 4 weeks post-treatment–18% had AH. Of those who had AH, 39% (34 of 87) had no baseline AH. With restoration, 63% of teeth with baseline AH no longer had AH. Changes in AH were not associated with preparation depth, length, width, or volume. CONCLUSION: Patient-reported occlusal caries tooth sensitivity was high at baseline and eliminated by RBC restoration in 63% of cases; however, new sensitivity after restoration was reported in 10% of lesions that had none at pretreatment. Sensitivity was not related to preparation dimensions, volume, tooth type, or patient demographics (other than age) in these early lesions.

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