Your dentist can provide you with professional-grade teeth whitening treatments that deliver results far superior to those of store-bought whitening products like kits or toothpastes and without the risk of injury due to poor formulation or user error. While it doesn’t usually happen, professional whitening treatments can cause the patient’s teeth to become sensitive for a few days afterward. Here’s what to know about this side effect and how to manage it if it happens to you.
How Do Professional Teeth Whitening Treatments Work?
Your dentist can whiten your teeth with either an in-office treatment or a take-home kit. In-office treatments involve a dentist placing barriers in your mouth to protect the soft tissues before applying a strong whitening agent to your teeth. The procedure usually takes about an hour. Take-home kits come with professional-grade whitening gel and dental trays customized to fit your teeth. You only have to apply the gel to the trays and wear them for an hour every day for two weeks. Either way, you’ll achieve results superior to those of any store-bought whitening product.
How Could Teeth Whitening Make My Teeth More Sensitive?
While teeth can become more sensitive as a side-effect of a whitening treatment, this can also happen due to thin enamel, another recent dental procedure, or an underlying condition. Sensitive teeth may experience an uncomfortable tingling sensation when exposed to airflow, hot or cold foods or beverages, or sweet, sour, or acidic substances. It might also happen when you brush your teeth.
While this sensitivity is a rare side effect of teeth whitening, it can result from the treatment removing microscopic bits of minerals from your enamel. This can leave the dentin layer unprotected, making your teeth more sensitive to various stimuli. This sensitivity should subside as your teeth are remineralized over time.
How Can I Keep My Sensitive Teeth Comfortable?
If you are experiencing sensitivity in your teeth after a whitening treatment, you might be curious about ways to find relief until the problem goes away. A few ways to do this include:
- Use a desensitizing toothpaste when brushing your teeth.
- Avoid hot or cold foods and drinks or other stimuli that can cause unpleasant sensations.
- Decrease the amount of time you spend wearing your dental trays. Sensitivity can result if your teeth are exposed for too long to the whitening agent.
While teeth can become sensitive as a result of whitening treatments, it is important to remember that this side effect is rare and temporary. Consulting with your dentist can determine if any teeth whitening treatment is right for you.
About the Practice
Ponte Vedra Complete Dentistry aims to make every dental experience special for patients in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. Led by Drs. Kristopher R. Harth and Eric L. Townsend, the dedicated staff welcomes new patients with a warm greeting and a beverage of their choice. Areas of expertise include preventive, restorative, emergency, and cosmetic dentistry such as at-home or in-office teeth whitening treatments. For more information on caring for your teeth during or after teeth whitening, contact the office online or dial (904) 285-7711.