Sensitivity After Teeth Whitening

By Rafael Mercado, DDS on October 25, 2019

Stains and discoloration can turn an otherwise beautiful smile into something unsightly. That’s why professional in-office teeth whitening treatment may be just what you need. Dr. Rafael Mercado has helped countless people in Castle Hills, TX achieve brighter and more beautiful smiles thanks to state-of-the-art teeth whitening.

Yet teeth whitening does have some side effects that are worth noting. Most notably, teeth whitening treatment can lead to tooth sensitivity. Let’s take a moment to discuss why that is, how long it lasts, and what can be done to minimize patient discomfort.

Why Tooth Sensitivity Occurs

During teeth whitening treatment, a bleaching agent is applied to the teeth. This bleaching agent penetrates the tooth enamel to whiten the actual structure of the teeth. In the process, some bleaching agent may come into close contact with the porous dentin layer of the teeth. This makes the dentinal tubules (the pores in the dentin) more sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure.

Rest assured that tooth sensitivity after a whitening procedure is normal.

How Long Will Tooth Sensitivity Last?

That can vary from patient to patient. Generally, though, tooth sensitivity will last for several days after the whitening session. The sensitivity will go down day by day, and patients should be able to notice major improvements by the end of the first week.

There are numerous things that can be done to reduce the discomfort you experience after teeth whitening.

Use of a Tooth Desensitizer

At Castle Hills Family Dental, we will often use a tooth desensitizer after teeth whitening treatment. This reduces the amount of sensitivity a person experiences immediately after their teeth have been whitened. The desensitizer can make the initial few hours after a whitening sessions far more tolerable for a patient.

Adjusting Your Diet After Teeth Whitening

After teeth whitening treatment, patients should consider eating a diet that consists primarily of soft, room temperature foods. This will prevent sharp spikes of sensitivity while eating. You can return to hard foods, cold foods/beverages, and hot foods/beverages as you feel able.

Oral Hygiene to Address Sensitive Teeth

With sensitive teeth, it’s best to brush your teeth with a toothpaste designed for people with sensitive teeth. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush as well, and be sure to be gentle yet thorough. This will make a major difference with regard to your overall comfort.

Attending Follow-Up Visits as Scheduled

There will be a few follow-up visits for teeth whitening patients to attend after the initial bleaching sessions. Be sure to go to all of these follow-up visits as scheduled. They will allow dentists to monitor your recovery and make recommendations based on how you are doing. Additional whitening sessions can also be discussed during these additional visits.

What If My Tooth Sensitivity Does Not Improve?

If your tooth sensitivity does not improve after a few days, it’s best to speak with your dentist about the issue. It could be the sign of a side effect that requires professional attention and care.

Contact Castle Hills Family Dental

If you would like to learn more about teeth whitening treatment and how it can benefit you, be sure to contact a skilled cosmetic and restorative dentist. You can reach our practice by phone at (210) 405-1257.