Whitening & Teeth Sensitivity: What Should You Know? - Smile Dental Center

choosing teeth whitening shadeMedically known as dentin hypersensitivity, teeth sensitivity can be a risk following in-office whitening or overuse of an over-the-counter product at home. You may experience an aching sensation that often worsens after eating certain foods.

Affecting the tooth and any exposed roots, the sensation is a result of active ingredients like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide irritating the nerves.

The risks can vary from patient to patient. Individuals who ordinarily have sensitive teeth may experience this effect, especially if the concentration of peroxide is too strong.

Beyond this, individuals who recently underwent a whitening procedure – or tried an at-home kit – may notice some tooth sensitivity if they do a follow-up treatment too soon or at too high a strength. To avoid this sensation, be mindful of the following factors.

Increase Time Between Treatments

One professional teeth whitening treatment can make a visible difference right away. However, more than one procedure is likely needed to reach your desired shade.

While you want to achieve pearly whites as soon as possible, scheduling too many treatments close together can increase the potential for tooth sensitivity. As an alternative, lengthen the amount of time between appointments or hold off altogether if you start experiencing tooth sensitivity.

Avoid Extreme Temperatures

Especially concerning beverages, anything that is too hot, cold or acidic can trigger tooth pain following a whitening procedure. If you recently had this procedure done, stick with room temperature beverages and wait some time to have something hot or ice cold. As an alternative, you can sip cold beverages through a straw for the time being, so the liquid bypasses your teeth.

Less-Intense Whitening Treatments

Your dentist tailors the strength of the peroxide for in-office treatments. However, it can be hit or miss when you’re using over-the-counter products to either whiten or maintain your professional procedure.

Some have a concentration so light that they have no effect, while others may be too strong or used too often that they enhance your teeth’s sensitivity.

If higher-concentration products are causing your teeth a degree of pain, try a whitening toothpaste or apply a product with a five to six-percent peroxide level for less than five minutes.

Try Anti-Sensitivity Toothpaste

If you’re a patient who regularly deals with tooth sensitivity beyond whitening treatments, consider using an anti-sensitivity toothpaste, desensitizing gel or fluoride rinse to decrease or block pain signals.

You can opt to use one of these products on a day-to-day basis to lessen overall sensitivity or switch to one before and after a whitening procedure.

If you’re concerned about potential discomfort following a whitening procedure, consider using an over-the-counter pain reliever before and after to help lessen the degree of sensitivity.

Take Gentle Care of Your Teeth

Especially if you know certain whitening products will affect your teeth and your gums, take a gentle approach to the rest of your oral care. Use a soft-bristled brush in a light motion and make sure the water is room temperature, rather than cold.
If you’re seeking a brighter smile, schedule a teeth whitening procedure at Smile Dental Center. To learn more or make an appointment, contact us today.