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In Dentistry, What Is the Hydrodynamic Theory?

By YaShekia King
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The hydrodynamic theory addresses the reasons for why some people’s teeth become responsive to stimuli such as hot and cold. This idea is based on what dental experts have observed during examinations of patients. According to researchers, the hydrodynamic theory emphasizes the importance of substances called enamel and cementum in preventing a tooth from becoming sensitive. It also highlights how exposure of a tooth material called dentin leads to sensitivity, which often is fleeting and requires the use of certain products for addressing the problem.

Experts in the dentistry field use the hydrodynamic theory to emphasize that enamel and cementum keep teeth from becoming overly sensitive. Dentin is the part of a tooth over which enamel or cementum is situated. Enamel constitutes the hardest tooth material and covers the crown, the part of a tooth that is visible in the mouth. Cementum covers the surface of the tooth root, which is embedded in bone. If dentin is not covered by these materials and becomes exposed due to a tooth defect, a patient experiences sensitivity.

Another aspect of this healthcare idea is that tubules make up the dentin and thus have an effect on the tooth sensitivity that an individual feels. When someone causes abrasion to a tooth — the wearing away of a tooth’s surface and surrounding gums by hard brushing — this can expose the dentinal tubules. If a dentist then uses an air and water syringe to clean the tooth surface, this forces fluid into the tubules. Meanwhile, eating a sour item can cause fluids to exit the tubules. The constant back-and-forth movement of the fluid inside the dentinal tubules and the change of pressure in the dentinal fluid causes tooth sensitivity, according to the hydrodynamic theory.

Pain associated with tooth sensitivity typically is very abrupt. The sensation a person feels in his or her tooth, based on the hydrodynamic theory, usually occurs only when a stimulus such as a blast of air is present. As soon as the cause of the sensitivity is removed, the pain has a tendency of subsiding.

Using products and procedures that target tooth pain represents a common way to target this particular type of oral issue. For instance, companies produce toothpastes that are specifically designed for people who suffer from tooth sensitivity. In addition, research has shown that laser therapy can be helpful for targeting the uncomfortable tooth sensations highlighted by the hydrodynamic theory.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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