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Issue 479, 18 March 2002

Probing research to help sensitive teeth

Dental directors – Professor Neil Meredith (left) and Dr David Belford

A new University spin-off company has been set up to develop and market a method of measuring tooth sensitivity.

The device is based on a diagnostic technique patented by Professor Neil Meredith from the University's Dental Institute which painlessly identifies areas and scale of sensitivity, so the appropriate treatment can be selected.

Tooth sensitivity affects around 20% of the UK population and is due to the exposure of dentine on the root surface of the tooth below the gum line, which is linked by minute tubes directly to the nerve. Left untreated, the condition can cause irreversible damage to the nerve of the tooth. The device will measure the permeability of the dentine by means of a sterile probe held against the surface of the tooth.

The company, D-Sense Ltd., is being backed by a 250,000 investment by the White Rose Technology Seedcorn Fund. Considerable interest has been shown in the technology by dental practices in the UK and Europe and by specialist distributors to the dental profession.

Professor Neil Meredith said: "Our new probe will take just a few seconds to accurately detect and assess sensitive areas so that the patient can be treated appropriately as soon as possible."

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