So many people are concerned about the appearance of their smile and would love to have perfect white teeth. Over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments are an easy way of achieving a moderate amount of brightening. However, many people opt for professional teeth whitening treatments at the dentist’s office to really achieve that beautiful white smile.
Irrespective of where you get the treatment, whether at home or a dental clinic, there is sometimes complaint of teeth sensitivity after whitening treatments. Read on to find our tips and tricks for minimising and dealing with teeth whitening sensitivity.
What is Teeth Sensitivity?
Teeth sensitivity is usually characterized as an intense feeling of heat or coldness in a tooth or set of teeth after eating or drinking. The feeling is discomforting and can get painful depending on the severity of the problem.
Sensitivity in the teeth results from enamel erosion, which can occur because of a host of reasons, such as over-brushing, physical trauma, and/or poor oral care. Once the enamel is weakened, the inner parts of the tooth become exposed.
The inner parts of the tooth, such as the dentin and tooth nerves, are easily irritated as they come in contact with hot or cold food and drink, which can cause discomfort and pain.
Does Teeth Whitening Cause Teeth Sensitivity?
The short answer: yes, teeth whitening can cause teeth sensitivity, but it is not necessarily the case every time. The sensitivity is usually temporary and may last anywhere between a few hours, a few days, or a couple of weeks.
In general, teeth whitening treatments cause sensitivity because of the following three reasons:
- Peroxide – Teeth whitening gels contain peroxide, which is a chemical whitening solution and can cause sensitivity.
- Pressure or Force – Teeth whitening trays can sometimes apply some force or pressure on your teeth which can cause heightened sensitivity.
- Bleaching Solutions – Bleaching solutions make your teeth temporarily porous, allowing hot or cold sensation to penetrate deeper and hence sensitive.
So, if you already experience teeth sensitivity regularly, you should stay away from at home teeth whitening products and consult your dentist to have a professional whitening done with desensitizing agents.
Tips on How to Cope With Teeth Whitening Sensitivity
Three Pre-Whitening Care Tips
Following are three tips you should follow before a teeth whitening treatment to minimize or overcome teeth sensitivity.
- Don’t Over Bleach – Try to avoid bleaching solutions for whitening your teeth or use lower concentration bleaches to mitigate teeth sensitivity.
- Space out Teeth Whitening Treatments – If you experience sensitivity after every whitening treatment, then it is probably a good idea to space out your treatments at appropriate intervals.
- Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth – Investing in a toothpaste for sensitive teeth is certainly a great way to reduce teeth sensitivity. Ideally, it would help if you started using desensitizing toothpaste at least ten days before going for a whitening treatment. We recommend Fluoridex, which is a prescription strength toothpaste for sensitivity relief.
Eight Post-Whitening Care Tips
Following are eight tips to mitigate teeth sensitivity after whitening your teeth.
- Use Desensitizing Gel – If you require quick relief, then desensitizing gels work perfectly well. A desensitizing gel reduces teeth sensitivity almost instantly upon application.
- Topical Painkillers – If sensitivity becomes too painful or uncomfortable, a topical painkiller helps temporarily relieve the situation.
- Brush Gently – You should use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your teeth to avoid worsening your teeth sensitivity. Moreover, brush in a gentle manner without applying unnecessary force.
- Use a Straw – Drinking through a straw allows you to enjoy your favorite drinks while maintaining minimal contact with your teeth which helps keep sensitivity in control.
- Don’t Consume hot or cold Foods – Keep away from foods that are hot or cold as they might trigger sensitivity. Stick to food and drinks that are at room temperature.
- Avoid Acidic or Sweet Foods – Avoid food that’s acidic or too sweet as it can penetrate deeper and might trigger and worsen teeth sensitivity.
- Talk to a Dentist – In case your sensitivity persists for a prolonged period, i.e., more than a couple of weeks, it is best to consult a dentist.
- Proper Teeth Whitening – If you have trouble with teeth sensitivity after every whitening treatment, you will do much better with professional teeth whitening at the dentist’s office rather than at-home whitening solutions.
Some Final Words
Teeth sensitivity can be irritating and uncomfortable. Before you begin any kind of treatment, it’s always best to consult with your dentist and make sure your teeth are healthy enough to make it through whitening with minimal pain. And as always you can message us with your questions!