Woman experiencing tooth sensitivity after whitening her teeth

Tooth Sensitivity After Whitening: 5 Tips for Minimizing Pain

Teeth whitening can make you feel like you’ve earned a whole new set of teeth, but bleaching can make your teeth and gums feel sensitive or even painful after whitening. If you’re using at-home trays for whitening, your discomfort might be even more long-lasting. Here are five tips on achieving your teeth whitening goals with less pain.

Would you like to brighten your smile in the safest, most effective way? Consult with our dentist at Alaska Dental Arts.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity after Whitening

Have you ever wondered why teeth become sensitive after whitening? To understand, you need to think of the three layers of each tooth. Going from the outer surface to the inside, these layers are enamel, dentin, and pulp.

The inner core of pulp usually isn’t disturbed by normal brushing, flossing, eating, and drinking. However, the bleaching agents used in teeth whitening, such as hydrogen peroxide, penetrate into this inner layer, causing pain and irritation.

Another cause is that the bleaching agent can irritate your gums. Then, you might experience tooth sensitivity due to the irritation in your gums.

It’s common for people using at-home whitening kits to have tooth sensitivity afterward. Even professional teeth whitening can result in some sensitivity, but our dentist has more insight into avoiding or relieving it. For example, professional teeth whitening treatments may have added ingredients that help reduce or prevent teeth sensitivity.

5 Tips to Minimize Pain After Whitening

5 Tips for Minimizing Sensitivity After Whitening Infographic

Tooth sensitivity after whitening can put a damper on your best days. That’s why we aim to help you avoid that sensitivity and pain as much as possible. Here are five tips to help you reduce pain any time you have at-home or professional whitening treatments.

1. Use sensitive teeth toothpaste.

Toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth is always a good idea if you typically have pain when you brush or eat. However, even if that’s not common for you, you can benefit from switching to desensitizing toothpaste about two weeks before you whiten your teeth. Continue to use this toothpaste during and after you use OTC teeth whitening products. Our Alaska Dental Arts dentist can advise you on when to use this desensitizing product when having a professional whitening treatment.

2. Brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Vigorously scrubbing with a stiff-bristled brush can be especially problematic after teeth whitening. We always recommend soft-bristled toothbrushes; this is even more important after whitening. You can have professional teeth whitening in as little as one 45-minute session. Be especially careful not to brush too hard for the next two weeks. Since at-home teeth whitening needs to be done over a longer period, you should brush gently during and for two weeks following at-home teeth whitening.

3. Manage temperature exposure.

After teeth whitening treatments, your teeth might become sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages. One way to manage the pain is simply to avoid eating or drinking anything very hot or cold. You can also use a straw for drinking cold beverages since this will keep the cold away from your teeth.

4. Take an NSAID for pain.

You might not immediately think of taking pain medications for teeth sensitivity. However, an NSAID pain reliever can reduce your discomfort if you have sharp pain in your teeth or gums. In fact, you can take the pain reliever before you begin the teeth whitening process. Then, continue to take it as needed to reduce redness, inflammation, swelling, and tenderness.

5. Ask your dentist.

At Alaska Dental Arts, we want to help you avoid tooth sensitivity after whitening. In professional whitening, your dentist may use whitening treatments that contain ingredients for reducing pain. For example, putting on a gel with potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride before whitening can help you avoid sensitivity. Our dentist can also recommend other ways to fight sensitivity.

The Professional Teeth Whitening Difference

Would you like to have the best possible teeth-whitening experience possible? If so, consider the advantages of professional teeth whitening. At Alaska Dental Arts, we offer both in-office whitening and at-home whitening.

In-Office Teeth Whitening

Having professional teeth-whitening offers several excellent advantages. First, you can see an amazing difference immediately after our dentist completes your treatment in a single visit. You don’t have to mess with trays on your own or wonder if the whitening is ever going to work, as you might with OTC teeth-whitening kits.

Second, your dentist can take steps to reduce tooth sensitivity after whitening and offer expert advice on how to manage any pain that arises. Our patients find it comforting to know they have a dental care pro to help them get the best results with less discomfort.

At-Home Teeth Whitening with Expert Guidance

We also offer at-home teeth whitening. After explaining the procedure and answering any questions, we provide you with what you need to do the teeth whitening. You use the whitening trays, following our instructions for the best results. However, our assistance doesn’t stop there. If you notice a problem, we are available to give you expert guidance throughout and even after you finish with the course of at-home teeth whitening.

Cost of OTC vs. Professional Teeth Whitening

Many people choose OTC teeth whitening kits because they believe this is the cheapest option. It might appear that this is true, but actually, several factors come into play. For instance, OTC teeth whitening kits require longer use to reach their maximum effect. So, you end up buying more kits, and the cost increases. In addition, without the help and guidance of a dental care expert, it’s easy to use over-the-counter products incorrectly, often increasing the pain. What’s more, you typically need to use the do-it-yourself teeth whitening trays again much sooner to maintain your bright smile.

Professional in-office teeth whitening is faster, more effective, and will give you a brilliant smile in the shortest time possible. Even at-home, dentist-directed whitening gives you better, faster, and longer-lasting results than over-the-counter options. In short, having your teeth whitened under professional supervision – whether in our office or at home – gives you the best outcome at a competitive cost. At the same time, you have the help you need to manage or even eliminate pain and sensitivity.

Rely on Your ADA Dental Care Team for Teeth Whitening Success!

Everyone has their own unique reason for wanting whiter teeth. Maybe you’re getting ready for a big event and want teeth whitening for your wedding or graduation. Perhaps you are preparing for job interviews and want to leave the most positive impression. Or maybe you just want to feel more confident in your smile. Whatever the reason, Alaska Dental Arts is here to help.

Teeth whitening is just one of the services we offer. If you want to explore ways to improve your smile, we recommend you come in for a cosmetic dentistry consultation. After discussing your goals and examining your teeth and gums, we can recommend the right procedures for your individual needs and desires. Then, we can move forward to help you achieve a more beautiful smile!

Are you ready to stop hiding your smile and start showing it off? Schedule a visit with our dentist at Alaska Dental Arts.