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Sensitive Teeth After Whitening

by | Sep 11, 2020

Do you want to whiten your teeth, but worry about having sensitive teeth after the whitening procedure?

Sensitive teeth, also known as dentinal hypersensitivity, can develop in patients who have undergone teeth whitening. The sensitivity is the result of the whitening process itself. The whitening chemicals can enter dentin tubules, which are microscopic channels in the enamel that lead to the nerves. Fortunately, dentinal hypersensitivity rarely lasts longer than 48 hours, and you can take steps to prevent sensitive teeth after whitening.

The main symptom of dentinal hypersensitivity is sharp tooth pain that worsens with pressure on the tooth or exposure to hot or cold liquids. Sensitive teeth can develop after teeth whitening and for a variety of other reasons. In fact, tooth sensitivity affects about 57 percent of all dental patients – not just those that undergo teeth whitening.


What causes sensitive teeth after whitening?

Dental grade bleaching agents work so well because they get deep into the tooth enamel to whiten and brighten better than products that just sit on the surface of teeth. In some cases, though, dental grade bleaching agents can get through the enamel through the dentinal tubules to expose the nerve endings below.


How to Prevent Sensitivity Associated with Teeth Whitening

Fortunately, you can take steps before, during and after teeth whitening treatment to prevent or reduce dentinal hypersensitivity.


Preventing Teeth Whitening Sensitivity Before Treatment

Change to a sensitive teeth toothpaste or gel at least one week before teeth whitening treatment. These special toothpastes and gels work by either covering up the dentinal tubules or by desensitizing the nerve endings in the dentinal tubules.


During Treatment

Use a teeth whitening home kit and adjust the timing according to the level of sensitivity you experience. If you experience tooth sensitivity, try doing more sessions but shortening the duration of each session.

If you are using a home teeth whitening kit, be sure to apply only enough whitening gel to coat each tooth. Using more gel will not make your teeth whiter, but it may make your teeth more sensitive.

Never sleep with your teeth whitening kit in – wearing the whitening kit for such a long time allows more of the bleaching agent to enter the dentinal tubules to reach the nerve endings. Furthermore, you may sleep so soundly that you miss warning signs of sensitivity, such as minor discomfort, which you might otherwise notice while awake.


After treatment

After teeth whitening, ask your dentist to prescribe or recommend a prescription-strength toothpaste or gel specifically designed to reduce sensitivity.

Brush your teeth gently with a soft-bristled brush then rinse your mouth lukewarm water, rather than cold water. Give the desensitizing toothpaste or gel an extra opportunity to work by leaving it in your mouth a moment or two before rinsing.

Steer clear of hot and cold drinks, as they can stimulate nerve endings to cause pain. Avoiding certain beverages, such as coffee and tea, can also help your teeth-whitening results last longer.

Use a straw to help liquid bypass sensitive teeth. Using a straw also helps you maintain your whiter, brighter smile longer.

Speak with a teeth whitening expert who can guide you through the process, from beginning to end. While teeth whitening may seem simple at first glance – just apply the gel as directed – a teeth whitening expert can recommend ways to improve the outcome, get long-lasting results, and reduce sensitivity. Triangle Dentistry has been providing exceptional dental care for more than 50 years, so our dental professionals know the best treatments for teeth whitening in Raleigh, NC. Schedule your appointment with Triangle Dentistry today for a whiter, healthier smile tomorrow.


Triangle Dentistry, located in Raleigh, NC, provides a state-of-the-art facility that offers exceptional general dental and specialty services guided by empathy of a patient’s needs and desires. Services range from dental crowns to veneers and whitening procedures. For further information, questions, or to schedule an appointment, contact the office at (919) 847-6000