Not everyone experiences tooth sensitivity while using whitening products, but it’s not uncommon. While whitening products can cause sensitivity, fortunately, it is temporary and resolves quickly. There are also steps you can take to avoid this unpleasant side-effect of having a brighter smile. Consider trying these steps if your teeth are prone to being sensitive:
Use a lower-concentration product. Choosing the strongest tooth bleach available may seem like the best way to get the whitest teeth, but the less-concentrated products are equally effective at getting the same results if allowed enough time. Higher concentrations are meant to get the job done faster, but with the side effect of an increased risk of temporary sensitivity. By taking it slow and using the longer-wear, lower-percentage bleach, you will be less likely to have to deal with the discomfort of tooth sensitivity.
Use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Products with special ingredients like potassium nitrate, the active ingredient in Sensodyne, can greatly reduce or eliminate the annoying sensations of pain that people experience with sensitive teeth. Use such a product as your regular brushing paste while whitening, and if your teeth tend to get really sensitive, wear it in your custom trays for half-an-hour to an hour before a course of your bleaching product. Some people with more severe sensitivity benefit from using their bleaching product one day, then a sensitive toothpaste the next, for their typical bleaching time (several hours or over night), and consistently alternating days.
Other things that can help might be simply to avoid the things that trigger sensitivity, such as cold or hot beverages and foods, or acidic beverages and foods, and use a soft-bristled brush. Whitening products can exacerbate dental issues such as untreated decay, which could also result in localized discomfort or pain (toothache), so it’s best to have a dental exam prior to beginning any whitening treatment in order to make sure you have a clean bill of dental heath. And always follow the instructions provided by your dentist.
If you experience sensitivity when whitening your teeth, contact our office so we can look into your situation with you and see what can help. At Mall of Georgia Dentistry, we know it can feel good to have a bright white smile you feel confident showing off, and that doesn’t have to come with pain or severe sensitivity.