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How to Reduce Sensitivity After Teeth Whitening

Sensitivity after teeth whitening

Teeth whitening can be a wonderful cosmetic improvement for discolored or stained teeth. Many of us wish our teeth were whiter, but consume many teeth-staining drinks like coffee and wine which can cause permanent staining on your enamel unless you get them professionally whitened.

There are many different teeth whitening options available on the market, ranging from over-the-counter whitening trays or whitening toothpaste that you can purchase at the drug store to more professional-grade whitening services at the dentist.

Most dental practices offer teeth whitening in two forms: an in-office whitening treatment that takes about an hour and usually only requires one visit and take-home whitening kits that are designed and tailor-made specifically for your teeth and your needs.

Why Does Teeth Whitening Cause Tooth Sensitivity?

The thing about receiving whitening treatments is that they tend to cause post-whitening tooth sensitivity. This can be attributed to a few different things, such as the bleaching agents removing the dentin layer of your enamel (temporarily). 

Sensitivity can also occur if you are using teeth whitening kits that have too high of a peroxide concentration, you are leaving them on for too long, or applying them too often. Some people have naturally sensitive teeth and whitening only exacerbates this. 

The bleaching agents in teeth whitening treatments can cause gum irritation and you may be experiencing sensitivity due to some other cause such as an underlying condition or if you have recently had other dental work done.

Signs of Tooth Sensitivity

When experiencing tooth sensitivity, your teeth will experience discomfort when exposed to the air, consuming cold or hot foods or drinks, when you brush your teeth, or when you consume foods that are particularly sour, sweet, or acidic. The sensitivity can vary and in some cases may cause some slight pain. 

How to Prevent or Relieve Tooth Sensitivity after Whitening

The best way to prevent tooth sensitivity after teeth whitening is to space out your teeth whitening treatments and only receive professional treatments under the monitoring of a dentist.

When you use teeth whitening kits from the drug store, these tend to contain harsher and higher concentrations of peroxide ingredients which can worsen tooth sensitivity. You may also need to reduce the duration that you leave the whitening treatment on your teeth. Desensitizing pastes and gels can be purchased to offer immediate relief but they work best when applied before getting your teeth whitened. You can also benefit from brushing your teeth before getting the whitening treatment.

However, if you brush your teeth soon after the treatment, this can expose your enamel to the peroxide bleach and cause damage and increase sensitivity. Finally, you can try using a pH-restoring mouthwash to neutralize the level of acid in your mouth. This will protect your teeth from enamel erosion, reduce sensitivity, and reduce tooth decay risk.

Whiten Your Smile With Professional Teeth Whitening at Douglas G. Hope DDS, FAGD

Get a beautiful white smile today with professional teeth whitening at Douglas G. Hope DDS, FAGD in Escondido. Dr. Douglas Hope is a highly experienced professional dentist who holds himself to strict standards and delivers the best results to his patients. If you’re interested in teeth whitening, contact us today to schedule an appointment. 

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