Sensitivity After Teeth Whitening

By Rafael Mercado, DDS on November 25, 2021

Most people agree that the appearance of their smile has a big impact on self-confidence. Unfortunately, many also agree that their smile is not as bright or white as they would desire. The teeth are regularly exposed to deeply colored foods and beverages, so it is natural for dental stains and discoloration to develop.

Professional teeth whitening brightens the teeth by several shades in approximately 30 minutes, allowing Dr. Rafael Mercado’s Castle Hills, TX, dental patients to quickly enhance the beauty of their smiles. Although treatment is safe and effective, many people worry about sensitivity after teeth whitening. Here we prepare our patients for the degree of sensitivity they may experience after teeth whitening treatment, and offer tips to protect the teeth and minimize discomfort.

How Sensitive Will My Teeth Be After Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening is a non-invasive cosmetic dentistry treatment. During in-office treatment at our Castle Hills dental practice a bleaching agent is applied to the teeth. The formula sits on the teeth for about half an hour, during which time it lifts away stains and brightens tooth color. Although the bleaching formula is made up of more than 35 percent hydrogen peroxide, it is actually fairly gentle on the teeth. The gel contains a neutral pH to protect the teeth and minimize sensitivity.

Because the whitening gel that we use features a neutral pH, some patients experience no increased sensitivity following teeth whitening treatment. Those who do experience tooth sensitivity generally report that it is very minor. The teeth may feel a little more sensitive to pressure or extreme temperatures, but patients should not experience any pain.

How Long Does Tooth Sensitivity Last?

If patients experience increased tooth sensitivity after teeth whitening treatment, it should not last long. Generally, tooth sensitivity lasts no more than a few days. Sensitivity is likely to be most noticeable during the first 24 to 48 hours after treatment. After that, sensitivity should gradually improve. Within a week after treatment there should be no noticeable tooth sensitivity.

Tips for Managing Tooth Sensitivity

Because sensitivity tends to be minor after teeth whitening treatment, many of our Castle Hills patients are able to manage it without any special treatment. However, if increased sensitivity causes discomfort or irritation, there are steps that patients can take to protect the teeth and improve oral comfort until the sensitivity subsides: 

  • Refrain from drinking coffee, wine, or other acidic beverages for at least 24 hours after teeth whitening.
  • Avoid foods and beverages that are extremely hot or cold.
  • Drink beverages through a straw to avoid direct contact with the teeth.
  • Brush the teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and use gentle pressure.
  • Consider using a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth.
  • If needed, over-the-counter pain medication can be used as directed to manage discomfort.

Contact Us

Professional teeth whitening is one of the safest, fastest, and easiest ways to enhance the appearance of your smile. If you’d like to learn more about teeth whitening treatment and its potential results, contact our dental practice online or call (210) 405-1257 at your earliest convenience.