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KB131111.02 - Preventing Sensitivity With KNO3


Your tooth enamel is filled with tiny holes that are formed as your teeth grow and provide access to nerves down through the teeth.  For most people, this allows them to sense when their teeth are being damaged, but for many the sensations don't match the reality.  If you've ever had your teeth hurt when eating something sweet, you could be overly sensitive to dental stimuli.

Rather than do something drastic to affect the nerves beneath the surface, we have discovered that a very simple and effective method exists.  Potassium nitrate (KNO3) penetrates these tubules very well and reduces the nerve's ability to sense pain from surface stimuli.  This could be thought of as "plugging" the openings in the enamel so the unwanted stimulus can't get to the nerve to initiate the pain signal.


In some people, the odontoblasts grow very close to the surface causing extreme temperature and chemical sensitivity.  The addition of up to 5% KNO3 is recommended for these people, but KNO3 also reduces the penetration of H2O2 and acids into the tooth enamel.  This means that sensitivity prevention reduces whitening products' effectiveness.  Practitioners should lengthen treatment time proportionally with the amount of KNO3 in the product they are using.

Example:  0.3% KNO3 in whitening gel should lengthen treatment time by around 20% while 5% KNO3 should lengthen treatment time by 60-70%.

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