Whitening your smile can be a very attractive idea if you’re bothered by stained or discolored teeth. However, if you have already done some research about whitening, you may have heard that it can leave your teeth more sensitive than normal. What causes sensitivity after tooth whitening? And what steps can you take to keep it under control? Your dentist is here to answer these questions so that you know what to expect when brightening your grin.
Many whitening products and procedures utilize hydrogen peroxide as a whitening ingredient. The properties of hydrogen peroxide allow it to enter your tooth and break down stain molecules, thus reducing or getting rid of any discolored areas.
However, one of the side effects of using hydrogen peroxide for whitening is that it slightly demineralizes your tooth. This can potentially expose the microtubules, which are microscopic channels that lead to the tooth’s nerves. Consequently, you might experience increased sensitivity in your teeth whenever they’re exposed to something hot or cold.
Your teeth will eventually remineralize over time, so any post-whitening sensitivity will only be temporary. However, until that happens, you will need to be extra careful about protecting your smile.
While your teeth are still sensitive, you should take care to stay away from any foods that can cause discomfort. Extreme temperatures are a common trigger for tooth sensitivity, so try to avoid eating anything that’s especially hot or cold. Other foods to avoid include sugary sweets and acidic fruits.
Additionally, you may want to think about picking up oral hygiene products that are designed for sensitive teeth. Sensodyne toothpaste is often a good option, as it can be used to help block the teeth from sending pain signals.
If you’re currently in the middle of the whitening process, you can reduce sensitivity by simply increasing the amount of time between your whitening treatments. You should also take a closer look at the products you’re using and see if there are any options with shorter application times.
Bear in mind that if you choose professional whitening, your dentist will take whatever steps they can to help you stay comfortable. That being said, it’s important to remember that every smile is different. If your teeth are particularly prone to sensitivity, it’s important to let your dentist know at the beginning of the process so that they can plan your treatment accordingly.
Dr. John Russo has been bringing healthier, more confident smiles to the Orlando community for nearly 25 years. He is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and he regularly pursues continuing education through the Florida Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and other avenues. He offers high-quality teeth whitening procedures that can be personalized as needed for sensitive teeth. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Russo, visit his website or call (407) 470-1224.