Over time, teeth can become discoloured or stained by food and drink or due to illness, injury, or lifestyle habits such as smoking. As a result, cosmetic dentistry services such as teeth whitening are always in high demand. Teeth whitening is an effective way to revive your smile. However, although safe, teeth whitening can cause dentin hypersensitivity. Dentin hypersensitivity is heightened sensitivity or pain in response to heat, cold, and certain foods or drinks. Sensitivity generally lasts up to 48 hours following teeth whitening and is quite common. More than 50 percent of patients report sensitivity after treatment.
What causes tooth sensitivity when whitening?
Teeth whitening involves removing stains from the enamel of your teeth. The solution used to do this penetrates the enamel, leaving tiny holes, called microtubules, exposed. These tubules lead to nerve endings that interpret stimuli, and exposure results in hypersensitivity.
At-home kits versus Professional whitening
Teeth whitening can be done using at-home kits or by visiting a dental clinic. At-home kits are affordable and convenient, but the concentration of chemicals used is not as strong as those used in professional teeth whitening. For that reason, at-home teeth whitening might be milder on your teeth than professional whitening. However, you should note, professional teeth whitening yields better and longer-lasting results than at-home whitening kits.
How to prevent/reduce tooth sensitivity
If you are considering professional teeth whitening, switch your toothpaste to a sensitivity toothpaste or gel a week before your teeth whitening treatment. This will help to cover tubules and desensitize nerve endings. While sensitivity toothpaste cannot prevent dentin hypersensitivity entirely, it can help to reduce sensitivity.
Dealing with tooth sensitivity while whitening
Though sensitivity after teeth whitening may be short-lived, it can cause much discomfort. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to alleviate the pain.
- Continue using a sensitive formula toothpaste to desensitize teeth.
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and lukewarm water to brush your teeth. Soft-bristled
toothbrushes are gentler on enamel than hard-bristled brushes.
- Use fluoride-based products. Fluoride is essential in dental health. Using a fluoride-based
mouthwash and toothpaste will help restore minerals in the teeth and close tubules.
- Change your diet. Avoid sweet, acidic, and sour foods as they can increase sensitivity.
- Where possible, use a straw to consume liquids. A straw will allow the liquid to bypass teeth
helping to decrease the likelihood of sensitivity.
If sensitivity lasts longer than 48 hours, contact your dentist.
Our Surrey Dental Clinic
If you are interested in professional teeth whitening and are searching for a dental clinic in Surrey, feel free to visit us at Newton Village Dental Clinic.
Our team of highly trained dental professionals is ready to help you achieve a whiter and brighter smile, and we are committed to making your dental experience as comfortable and rewarding as possible. We welcome patients of all ages, and our staff can communicate in English, French, Vietnamese and American Sign Language.
Call or visit our website today to schedule an appointment with our experienced Surrey dentist and staff. Let us help you achieve your goal of a beautiful, healthy smile!