Tooth sensitivity is a common side effect of teeth whitening. This can be true even for people who do not otherwise experience sensitive teeth.
If you already have sensitive teeth, the whitening process may exacerbate the condition. This is especially true in cases where store-bought tooth whitening kits are used. While inexpensive and convenient, store-bought tooth whitening kits do not come with customized application trays. This can allow solution seepage, create soft tissue discomfort, and increase the risks of tooth sensitivity.
These and other risks are significantly reduced when you choose to have your teeth whitened by a dentist. However, even professional tooth whitening can result in some discomfort.
Why Tooth Whitening Causes Sensitivity
The exact cause of tooth sensitivity following whitening is not known. The leading hypothesis revolves around demineralization caused by peroxide in the bleaching gel. According to this theory, enamel erosion allows some of the active ingredients to seep into the dentin, leading to increased sensitivity.
To address this issue, some professional teeth whitening products contain fluoride to strengthen enamel during the bleaching process.
Dealing with Post-Whitening Tooth Sensitivity
There is typically no cause for alarm with increased tooth sensitivity after whitening. In a majority of cases, any additional sensitivity will self-correct over the course of 24 to 48 hours. During this time, using a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth will help. So too will avoiding hot or cold food and beverages until comfort returns.
While extremely rare, any lasting or limiting discomfort should be brought to the immediate attention of one of our experienced cosmetic dentists.
Tooth whitening is among the safest and most effective cosmetic dentistry procedures available. Requiring neither tooth preparation nor a recovery period, this procedure can offer immediate results when performed in-office. We also offer take-home kits that can be used in the comfort of your own home to gradually lighten teeth over several weeks. These come with customized application trays, helping to prevent solution seepage and further reducing risks of tooth sensitivity.
Contact Us for a Consultation
Tooth whitening can cause sensitivity. Having your teeth whitened by a dentist can help reduce this risk. Call NYC Smile Design at 212-452-3344 to schedule a consultation and learn more. Located in Manhattan, we welcome patients from all surrounding areas.