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. And do you know what’s even better? In general, these options require a minimum effort on your part and include doing things such as dialing back your whitening frequency, using specific types of toothpaste, watching what you eat, and using straws.
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.
- Sip Through a Straw: When you absolutely have to enjoy a hot cup of coffee or a glass of chilled ice tea, try drinking through a straw. Because a straw protrudes past your teeth, you should be able to avoid a lot of the typical discomfort associated with drinking a warm or cold beverage after treatment.
- Brush With a Special Toothpaste: Certain toothpastes, such as Colgate Sensitive or Sensodyne, can help block pain signals from your teeth to nerves. So can desensitizing gels such as Smile Brilliant or Senzaway.
- 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 Dentist About Your Teeth Whitening Sensitivity
The most important thing you can do if you find yourself struggling with tooth sensitivity after a whitening treatment is one of the simplest: Talk with your dentist. The professionals at Westend Dental have 25 years of experience in dealing with all sorts of oral-health matter. Indeed, they can easily monitor your progress and provide guidance when the time comes to explore alternative whitening options. But they need to know about any issues you may be experiencing first.
Additionally, when undergoing a teeth-whitening procedure or actively bleaching at home with custom trays, make sure to follow the direction of your dentist to ensure effective whitening and minimize any associated discomfort. So call Westend Dental today at (773) 244-9500 or reach out to us through our website! Not only can we help you get a more confident and beautiful smile with teeth whitening, we can also do so without undergoing excess pain or effort.