Teeth whitening treatments, including in-home whitening trays or strips and laser whitening treatments such as zoom whitening, can cause high levels of teeth sensitivity or pain for some people. Usually, people with sensitivity to teeth whitening will experience discomfort or pain during whitening treatments or in the minutes, hours or days following a specific treatment. Typical discomfort is often attributed to either the teeth or gums and is based on the type of teeth whitening treatment. Luckily, there are preventative and pain relieving measures that can be taken to reduce sensitivity and discomfort associated with teeth whitening treatments.
Teeth Whitening Treatments and Dentin Hypersensitivity
Dentin hypersensitivity, or tooth sensitivity, affects the entire tooth and any exposed root surfaces. It occurs when the active ingredients in whitening products, such as a hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, reach the nerves within each tooth.
The sensitivity of a person’s teeth during or after whitening treatments will depend on a number of factors including whether or not they have recently undergone teeth whitening procedures, the strength of such whitening treatments along with the unique characteristics of their teeth. These factors may contribute to the level of pain or sensitivity that is experienced during an active whitening treatment or following such a treatment.
Options to Reduce Sensitivity Tied to Teeth Whitening Treatments
Following a whitening treatment, there are numerous ways that you can minimize pain and sensitivity. Some of these methods include:
- Reduce the Frequency of Teeth Whitening Treatments: One way to instantly minimize sensitivity related to teeth whitening is to increase the time between whitening treatments or to simply take a break from whitening altogether.
- Choose an Alternative Teeth Whitening Treatment: Certain types of whitening treatments can cause more sensitivity or pain because of the intensity or level of active bleaching ingredients. If whitening regularly with bleach trays is causing heightened sensitivity, you may wish to change to a less-intense whitening treatment, such as whitening toothpaste, to give your teeth a break.
- Avoid Certain Foods and Beverages During Whitening Treatments: Consuming extremely cold, hot or acidic food and drinks can impact the sensitivity of teeth and gums if you have recently whitened your teeth via laser whitening, zoom whitening or home bleach tray. By avoiding these types of food and drinks around the time of a whitening procedure you can greatly minimize sensitivity or related pain.
- Use a Lower Strength In-Home Bleaching Gel: If you are using in-home bleach trays you purchase a less intense bleaching gel. With a lower strength bleaching agent, you can expect a lesser degree of sensitivity or pain tied to your whitening treatments.
- Talk to Your Dental Professional About Your Teeth Whitening Options: You should inform your dental professional about your teeth whitening practices so they may monitor progress and provide guidance when alternative whitening options may need to be explored.
When undergoing a teeth whitening procedure or actively bleaching at home with custom trays, it’s important to follow the direction of your Dentist to ensure effective whitening and minimize any associated discomfort. Whitening your teeth can provide a more confident and beautiful smile, but it shouldn’t require painstaking or painful efforts to achieve!