Tooth Whitening And Sensitivity

Dentist Blog

Many people opt to have their teeth whitened professionally by their dentist, and this is the safest and most effective choice if you want a dazzling Hollywood smile.  However, some patients do experience increased tooth sensitivity to hot and cold following whitening treatments.  So, what causes post-whitening sensitivity, and how can you overcome it?  Read on to find out more.

What causes post-whitening sensitivity?

Most professional whitening treatments contain a peroxide-based bleaching agent that works by stripping away staining deep inside the tooth enamel, as well as tackling any discolouration on the tooth surface.  Sensitivity usually occurs during the early stages of the whitening process, as the peroxide soaks through the tooth enamel and comes into contact with the nerves contained in the dentin underneath.

Relief from sensitivity

Usually, any sensitivity of the teeth following bleaching treatment is temporary, and often disappears by itself.  However, if you find that your teeth remain sensitive after the whitening treatment has finished, there are a few effective relief strategies that you can try.

The most important thing is that you explain the problem to your dentist as soon as it manifests itself.  Your dentist may then change the whitening product he uses to one containing a lower bleach concentration and desensitising agent.  He or she may also suggest increasing the time between whitening treatments to give your teeth chance to recover.  In the case of an extreme sensitivity reaction, the dentist might advise against tooth whitening treatments for a long period of time.

In order to reduce the sensitivity, your dentist might recommend the application of a desensitising treatment or varnish that he or she will apply following treatment.  He or she may also prescribe you a special toothpaste or gel that will help to combat the sensitivity.  If you experience sensitivity when brushing your teeth, swop your toothbrush for a very soft-bristled one, and brush your teeth using warm water, rather than cold.  It's also a good idea to avoid eating hot or very cold foods for a few days after you've had a whitening treatment.

In conclusion

If you are considering having tooth whitening carried out and you are concerned that you may suffer from tooth sensitivity following the procedure, be sure to discuss your concerns with your dentist.  The dentist will carry out an air test to determine just how sensitive your teeth are, prior to any treatment.  This simple test involves a small jet of cold air being fired onto the surface of your teeth to check the level of sensitivity.  You will still be able to have your teeth whitened, but your dentist will use a product that is less concentrated.


7 December 2015

Dental Care and Seniors: Helping to Maintain Your Smile

As you age, it can become harder to take care of your teeth. Motor challenges can make it hard to floss, while memory issues may make it easy to overlook brushing. Whether you are a senior looking for solutions to some of the common dental problems or a senior with specific questions about cavities or oral surgery, you have come to the right place. In this blog, I am going to touch on a range of topics related to seniors and oral health. This is the type of resource I wish my mum would have had access to in her senior years, and I hope you enjoy having access to it during yours. I appreciate you reading my posts.