I have a dear friend who is 58 years old and has not been able to eat ice cream for more than 30 years—not because he is lactose intolerant but because it is too painful. He has slight recession, and everything cold hurts. Over the years, I polished, brushed, and applied every desensitizer product on the market, hoping that it would bring him relief. We tried what seemed like everything: potassium nitrate, stannous fluoride, amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP), potassium oxalate, NovaMin, arginine, and Recaldent, to name a few. Most have disclaimers that state that the desensitizing effects will typically last for 30–90 days. Some are intended for generalized sensitivity and others for localized “zingers.” And most lasted exactly for the length of time claimed but no longer.
I recently discovered a great new product to help my patients. This new desensitizer claims to last up to three years after one application. It only took 30 seconds for me to apply, and so far, my friend (and patient) is thrilled. A few months has passed since the initial application, and he is singing my praises for helping him find relief from his hypersensitivity. The product is called Shield Force Plus, and it is manufactured by Tokuyama Dental America Inc. It has been used by dentists for a number of years to prep for direct and indirect restorations, but the company only recently introduced it to hygienists for sensitivity.
Shield Force Plus is a fluoride-releasing desensitizer for the treatment of hypersensitivity. It is so easy to apply. All I do is isolate the area with cotton rolls, dry it, place an even coating of solution on the affected area, direct a light spray of air to evenly distribute the material, and cure it for 10 seconds with a light. I then floss to make sure there is no residual material interproximally. It is that easy. I love the fact that the material is green out of the bottle for visibility but dries clear. (Note: It is best to refrigerate the material between uses, but apply it at room temperature for patient comfort.) I also love the fact that it is resin-based instead of glutaraldehyde-based and that it has a fluoride-releasing formula.
The mechanism of action is a two-part protection system. The company calls it a “double-block” technology. First, it seals the tubules and then, once cured, it forms a lasting coating or “shield” that also helps prevent dentin loss due to abrasion. The technology was designed to protect the tooth from physical abrasion, chemical erosion, and stimuli. This product does it all.
I asked representatives of Tokuyama to explain why they claim the product can last for three years. The estimates are based on abrasion tests conducted to examine typical wear from the average patient who brushes twice a day. This frequency of brushing equates to more than 20,000 brush strokes in one year. Most conventional products are projected to last anywhere between 1,680 brush strokes (four weeks) and 16,200 brush strokes (nine months). Based on the results of the abrasion test, Tokuyama claims that Shield Force Plus can last for 100,000 brush strokes (more than three years).
I have used this product on many other patients complaining of hypersensitivity from all kinds of stimuli—hot, cold, sweet, and sour. The results have been favorable. Try it—your patients will love you for it.