Whether you’ve had it done or not, we’re sure we’ve all thought about teeth whitening.
When done properly, it’s a sure fire way to have the pearliest of whites. However, it comes with a downside, tooth sensitivity.
More often than not, patients will experience tooth sensitivity after a whitening procedure. This can lead to discomfort when eating hot and/or cold foods. You can read one of our previous blogs on sensitive teeth. This sensitivity could be caused by two things; bleaching molecules penetrating into your teeth and increasing blood flow and pressure in the tooth pulp causing mild pulpitis or increased tooth porosity and removal of the protective protein layer on the surface of your teeth.
Bleaching molecules penetrating teeth could mean that elements in your tooth dentin are being broken up by hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is the bleaching agent in tooth whitening. With this agent breaking down these elements, the increased pressure irritates the tooth nerve slightly and makes your teeth more sensitive to stimuli in general. However, everyone has different experiences and mild pulpitis can last for about 2 weeks after whitening.
The protein layer on the surface of your teeth protects the exposed pores in your dentine. This keeps the pores safe from the outside oral environment. All whitening products must strip off this protein layer in order to dissolve surface stains. So, when whitening, these pores are exposed and vulnerable, causing sensitivity.
How to help with tooth sensitivity.
Try brushing your teeth before the whitening procedure. Brushing right after whitening will further open pores on exposed dentin and create sensitivity. It can also damage your enamel since some bleaching agents are slightly acidic. Let your teeth recover afterwards.
Use a de-sensitising gel. For the most relief, you should apply the gel to your teeth for 10 to 30 minutes before bleaching using the same bleaching trays you got from your dentist and rinse afterwards. Ideally, the gel should contain both 5% potassium nitrate and fluoride.
Rinse after bleaching. This will help restore the pH balance to your mouth.
Opt for whitening strips instead of tray bleaching. Although Tray Bleaching and In-Office Bleaching offer many advantages, they allow more bleaching molecules to enter your teeth. Whitening Strips on the other hand, don’t allow many bleaching molecules to enter your teeth because of their design, and this means that you will have less sensitivity. A well thought of brand would be Crest.
We hope this helps in your quest for whiter teeth. If you have any tips on how to deal with sensitivity after whitening, we’d love to hear them! Leave us a comment down below!