Increased tooth sensitivity is a common side effect of teeth whitening. Though increased dental sensitivity following teeth whitening is generally short-lived, there are ways to help reduce the likelihood of tooth sensitivity. Livingston cosmetic dentistry patients have found the following tips very helpful in preventing sensitivity after tooth whitening.

The Causes of Increased Tooth Sensitivity after Whitening

Some patients experience increased tooth sensitivity following teeth whitening treatment. Some common causes for increased tooth sensitivity include:

  • Stripped Protective Mineral Layer: The teeth have a protective mineral layer, which can be stripped by whitening treatments. This temporarily increases the porousness of the teeth, exposing the tooth's nerve.
  • Pulpitis: Pulpitis is a condition that can cause increased tooth sensitivity following teeth whitening. Pulpitis causes an increase of blood flow to the tooth's pulp, resulting in discomfort and tooth sensitivity as pressure builds up within the pulp tissue. Pulpitis generally resolves within two weeks.

Ways to Preventing Tooth Sensitivity after Teeth Whitening

Increased tooth sensitivity following teeth whitening treatment is generally mild and short-lived. It can be prevented or greatly reduced by following these helpful tips:

  • Avoid certain foods and drinks: Certain foods and drinks can cause increased tooth sensitivity. Avoid acidic, overly sweet foods and drinks, as these can damage tooth enamel and expose the tooth's nerves.
  • Avoid hot and cold foods and drinks: Changes between hot and cold can be painful to sensitive teeth. Avoid hot and cold foods and drinks for the first few days following teeth whitening treatment and instead stick to lukewarm foods and drinks.
  • Switch to a soft bristled toothbrush: Hard bristled toothbrushes can be too abrasive following teeth whitening. Switching to a soft bristled toothbrush is gentler on the teeth and less likely to cause increased sensitivity.
  • Use sensitive formula toothpaste: There are many over-the-counter types of toothpaste specially formulated for sensitive teeth. Brush with one of these toothpastes to reduce tooth sensitivity.
  • Upon doctor approval, take ibuprofen: Taking ibuprofen before or after teeth whitening can help reduce any discomfort that may be felt from tooth sensitivity. Before taking any medication, be sure to consult a doctor.
  • Use home treatments as directed: If trying an in-home whitening system, it is vital to follow all directions. Leaving the whitening treatment on longer than advised can damage the protective layer of the teeth, making the teeth more porous and sensitive.
  • Avoid brushing immediately following treatment: Brushing immediately following teeth whitening should be avoided since the teeth are more vulnerable to sensitivity after treatment. Follow the dentist's directions after treatment to ensure proper care of freshly whitened teeth.

Schedule a Consultation with the Silverstrom Group

Livingston teeth whitening patients experience many benefits from whitening treatments. Teeth whitening is a wonderful option to dramatically improve and rejuvenate the smile's appearance in a single dental visit. For many, teeth whitening can brighten the teeth up to eight shades! Schedule a consultation with the Silverstrom Group to discuss the available teeth whitening treatment options.