Tooth Whitening and Sensitivity

Whitening your teeth is one of the quickest and most affordable ways to enhance your smile and boost your confidence. It is a simple process that can be done under the supervision of your cosmetic dentist or within the comfort and privacy of your own home. For our New Jersey teeth whitening patients, the only real drawback of whitening is that it may cause you to develop tooth sensitivity for a few days after treatment. Teeth whitening temporarily strips of the teeth of their protective layer, exposing the underlying tooth nerves. Fortunately, there are ways to help minimize tooth-whitening sensitivity and still achieve a radiant smile.

How to Avoid Sensitivity

Patients who undergo the at-home teeth whitening procedure can reduce the side effects by following these tips:

  • Follow instructions: Follow the instructions provided by your cosmetic dentist and the manufacturer of the whitening product, such as not whitening teeth for longer than suggested.
  • Cut back: If you experience sensitivity, sometimes simply giving your teeth a little break between whitening applications can help alleviate sensitivity.
  • Check your whitening product label: Make sure you are using a whitening agent that contains a peroxide level of 6 to 10 percent. While a higher peroxide level may deliver a faster result, your sensitivity level may be exacerbated.
  • Do not overuse: When whitening products are used in excess, they may make your teeth extremely sensitive or even damage them. Once you have completed your procedure or at-home whitening kit, do not whiten your teeth again for at least a few months, or until your dentist says it is safe to do so.
  • Use sensitivity toothpaste: Switching to a toothpaste that is made especially for sensitive teeth may help minimize discomfort.
  • Use a soft bristle toothbrush: Softer bristles are gentler on your teeth and can reduce pain.
  • Limit cold food and drinks while whitening: Teeth can become temporarily more sensitive to cold and heat even under ordinary conditions, but whitening can really heighten sensitivity levels. Limiting your cold and hot food and drink intake while you are whitening can help avoid some unnecessary discomfort.
  • Ask your dentist: New desensitizing products are constantly available on the market that can be applied to help reduce sensitivity.
  • Inform your dentist: If your tooth sensitivity level persists or worsens, schedule an appointment with your dentist. Your sensitivity may be due to another cause such as gum recession or cavities.

Many of these tips also apply to patients who undergo the one-hour teeth whitening procedure at our office. For more information, consult a qualified dentist.

Learn More about Tooth Whitening and Sensitivity

Fortunately, you can achieve a dazzling smile without compromising the integrity of your teeth. Make an appointment with Dr. Richard Bucher and his highly skilled staff at Laser Dentistry of New Jersey to find out how you can boost your confidence and achieve a beautiful smile the simple, affordable, pain-free way. Contact the practice today!