Dentin hypersensitivity is common among teeth whitening patients. The condition causes heightened sensitivity in response to stimuli such as hot and cold drinks, certain sweet foods, and contact with the teeth (especially during teeth brushing). Mild discomfort from this temporary increased sensitivity is expected to last for no longer than around 48 hours.
There are many types of teeth whitening treatments available, ranging from natural remedies and store-bought whitening toothpaste, to much more professional treatments that should only be carried out by dentists.
In the case of these highly effective teeth whitening techniques available from the dentist, the sensitivity reported by some patients in the 1-2 days following treatment is likely linked to the gentle dental-grade bleaching agent responsible for the long-lasting whitening results. This whitening agent penetrates the enamel, exposing some nerve endings close to the surface.
Patients who are about to undergo a professional teeth whitening treatment are advised to build up a resistance to sensitivity by changing to a sensitive toothpaste or gel at least one week before the start of the treatment.
Although switching to a sensitive toothpaste may not entirely prevent the sensation of temporary heightened sensitivity in the teeth following teeth whitening treatment, patients will nevertheless benefit from a reduced sensitivity.
A tooth whitening home kit is the safest way to reduce sensitivity. This is because the dosage and treatment time can be adjusted by the patient in response to the onset of heightened sensitivity, minimizing any discomfort while achieving the best result possible.
Record the duration of each teeth whitening session. Note when the teeth start to become sensitive and alter the treatment accordingly. For example, some patients may prefer 7-10 shorter sessions as opposed to 5-7 fewer but longer sessions. 90 minutes is the ideal treatment time.
Never attempt to sleep while using a teeth whitening home kit – warning signs may be missed, leading to painful sensitivity. Also, only use a small amount of gel for each tooth. More gel doesn’t equal whiter teeth but may mean more sensitivity. Use enough gel to coat the body of the tooth in a thin film. More than this will displace the gel onto the sensitive parts of the teeth and gums.
Tips for dealing with sensitivity after teeth whitening include:
Patients suffering from hypersensitivity (or patients who feel that the discomfort is extending beyond the expected 48 hours after treatment) are advised to enquire about pain relief medication. On a case-by-case basis, dentists may choose to prescribe a course of pain relief, which could include painkillers that contain anti-inflammatories (e.g. Ibuprofen).
If you are using a home whitening kit, . You can use this for up to 90 minutes a day – but if you find this is too much, simply reduce the frequency or duration. To combat sensitivity here, you can also add a little of the Max white gel toothpaste into your trays after the treatment too.
Would you like to find out more about our teeth whitening service? This treatment is simple to administer, non-invasive, and provides fantastic results – patients can on average see an improvement of three to four shades whiter by the end. Get in touch with us today or fill out our online inquiry form and one of our team will be in touch.