Tooth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments. It enables you to remove stains from your teeth and improve their colour for a brighter, whiter smile. There are many tooth whitening solutions available that can be used at home, in the dental practice or both. Although professional tooth whitening can ensure a beautiful, natural-looking result, many people experience sensitive teeth during and after the procedure.
Causes of sensitive teeth
Professional tooth whitening involves using a bleaching agent – either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide – to remove stains that are embedded deep within and on the surface of the tooth. This process exposes the pores of the dentine (the main supporting structure of the tooth) and results in an increase of blood pressure that can irritate the nerves of the tooth. This can make it more sensitive to stimulation from hot and cold food or drinks, as well as aggressive toothbrushing.
The level of sensitivity that people experience during and after tooth whitening treatment can vary – everyone is different. Tooth sensitivity is more common when bleaching agents are applied to the teeth for a longer period of time, or when the bleaching agent used is of a particularly high concentration. The frequency and severity of tooth sensitivity can also be affected by the type of whitening treatment used, the quality of the bleaching product, and how your teeth react to these factors.
Relief from sensitivity
It’s important to be aware that tooth sensitivity is usually a temporary side effect that subsides within 24 to 48 hours after tooth whitening treatment. At Ten Dental+Facial, we only use the safest, most reliable techniques and the highest quality products to ensure tooth sensitivity is minimised during and after professional tooth whitening procedures. There are also additional steps we recommend patients take to ensure the risk of sensitive teeth is further reduced:
- Avoid excessive use of tooth whitening products
- Use a lower concentration of bleaching agent to whiten your teeth
- Reduce the amount of time your teeth are in contact with the bleaching agent
- Apply desensitising products to your teeth 10–30 minutes prior to and after tooth whitening treatment
- Use a gel or toothpaste that is designed to combat tooth sensitivity
- Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after tooth whitening treatment
- When brushing your teeth, gently brush using a soft-bristled toothbrush and lukewarm water
- Avoid consuming hot or cold food and drinks a day or two after tooth whitening treatment
- Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g. ibuprofen)
Seek out a professional
If you are looking to brighten your smile, visit us at Ten Dental+Facial to determine your suitability for professional tooth whitening, as well as your potential for tooth sensitivity. We will conduct a thorough evaluation of your smile and assess which would be the most appropriate tooth whitening solution for you. When performed correctly by a dental professional, tooth whitening procedures can deliver an effective, long-lasting outcome with minimal tooth sensitivity.