Teeth whitening is safe and effective, and a terrific cosmetic treatment to brighten your smile. But, it can cause some sensitivity after treatment. While this is only temporary, it can cause a bit of discomfort at least for the first days following the whitening procedure.
So, with that in mind, there are ways to navigate the whitening process to minimize sensitivity and discomfort even if you have sensitive teeth.
What Causes Sensitivity After Teeth Whitening?
Sensitivity to teeth whitening can occur for a variety of reasons. First of all, whitening gels used can make the enamel on your teeth more permeable, which exposes the softer dentin layer containing nerves located in your teeth.
Brushing your teeth after whitening instead of before the process, as recommended, can reopen pores in the teeth and cause more sensitivity.
And, some whitening trays used can put force on your teeth that makes them temporarily sensitive, as well.
Finally, the bleaching gels themselves that are used for teeth whitening can cause sensitivity or irritation if they make contact with your gums.
Tips to Prevent Sensitivity to Your Teeth Whitening Treatment
You can take some measures to minimize sensitivity to teeth whitening and reduce any discomfort.
- Brush your teeth using a desensitizing toothpaste starting about 10 days prior to your whitening treatment. This type of toothpaste helps to block pain signals from your tooth surface to the inner nerve.
- Brushing your teeth before whitening versus after is important so the pores in the teeth don't reopen following whitening, causing more sensitivity.
- Use a desensitizing gel before your treatment, being sure to leave the gel on as recommended, then rinsing only with water.
- Take pain over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen before your whitening treatment to help minimize sensitivity as well as any discomfort.
Tips to Reduce Sensitivity After Your Teeth Whitening Treatment
After teeth whitening you can also use these tips to reduce or shorten any tooth sensitivity you experience.
- Avoid hot and cold foods and drinks and instead choose room temperature foods and beverages.
- Avoid acidic foods and drinks like sodas and citrus that can cause irritation in your mouth and increase sensitivity.
- Continue to use a desensitizing toothpaste for the first several days after your whitening and citrus fruits can irritate your mouth, increasing the sensitivity you experience.
- Brush your teeth gently using a soft toothbrush
- Help to remineralize your teeth as well as blocking any pain signals to your oral nerves by using toothpicks or mouthwashes that contain fluoride.
- Drink through a straw for a few days to prevent liquid making contact with teeth, which will also help minimize any sensitivity or discomfort.
- Avoid any over-the-counter whitening products. Professional in-office and at-home teeth whitening treatments are best at minimizing sensitivity, providing careful application, and using whitening trays that fit teeth well, preventing whitening products from coming into contact with and irritating your gums.
Ready to Learn More About Teeth Whitening?
If you’d like to learn more about teeth whitening and how to manage any sensitivity to whitening products that can occur, or if you’d like to schedule a consultation for whitening or other cosmetic dental services, just reach out to us, today!