Tooth Sensitivity & Whitening, Bleaching & Sensitive Teeth

Tooth Sensitivity & Whitening, Bleaching & Sensitive Teeth

Are you concerned about tooth Sensitivity and discomfort when whitening or bleaching your teeth? There are several causes, and fortunately several cures!
Sensitivity is usually caused when gas released by the bleaching process, and the bleaching solution is absorbed into the tooth surface. It is most common in persons with gum recession. Bleaching should never be done by persons with untreated decay, or leaky fillings (good reason to have a professional check prior to bleaching!). Sensitivity is also more common with unregulated “over-the-counter” or internet products that have been thoroughly tested (buyer beware applies!). This applies especially to gum sensitivity caused by poor (sometimes no fit) fitting applicator trays that let the stronger bleaching to actually CHEMICALLY BURN the gums.

Most sensitivity is short lasting and in the vast majority of cases reversal able in a few days. The best ways to prevent and treat it are:

  • Have the teeth checked prior to whitening. Tooth whitening simply not appropriate for everyone.
  • Talk to the professional helping to determine if a custom home applicator, or in-office s best for you. Avoid “one size works for all” solutions!
  • Be certain that there is no decay, gum disease, or gum recession
  • A common solution is the administration of the whitening in the office. Although the solutions are stronger, they are applied for a shorter period of time, and can be restrained from affecting sensitive root surfaces and gums.
  • Try bleaching every 2nd or 3rd day or for shorter periods of time. The result should be cumulative though take longer.
  • Avoid solution that may stain during the process as the teeth may be more “stainable” during the lightening process.
  • Desensitizing agents such as sodium nitrate, amorphous calcium phosphate, or a neutral fluoride are incorporated or alternated with some professional bleaching solutions. This is an area where professional judgment is best.

Don’t give up on tooth lightening. Products have improved in the last few years and results are better!

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