Minimizing Sensitivity After Teeth Whitening: Tips & Techniques

Minimizing Sensitivity After Teeth Whitening: Tips & Techniques

  • Posted: Apr 01, 2024

While teeth whitening treatments have become popular, all clients need to understand how their teeth might encounter sensitivity during this process. Canada Dental Network has put together this guideline to review why tooth sensitivity occurs with whitening, how to minimize it before treatment, and how to manage it after treatment. While Cosmetic dentistry is a powerful tool to enhance and brighten smiles, it’s important to prepare yourself with the knowledge to best understand what to expect. 

How to Minimize Sensitivity Before Treatment 

Preparing for a teeth whitening session involves more than just scheduling an appointment. Taking proactive steps beforehand can significantly reduce the likelihood of certain risks related to tooth whitening such as increased tooth sensitivity, experienced during and after the treatment. Preventative measures can help to minimize discomfort and ensure a smooth teeth whitening experience. Follow along with the tips outlined below to make a notable difference in your overall comfort. 

  • Desensitizing Toothpaste. Begin using desensitizing toothpaste at least ten days before your procedure to block pain signals from the surface of your tooth to its inner nerve.  
  • Desensitizing Gel Application. Apply a desensitizing gel before treatment to alleviate sensitivity. Follow the recommended duration on the instructions and then rinse your mouth out thoroughly. 
  • Pain Medication. Taking over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen before and after treatment can help minimize discomfort and any lingering sensitivity that sticks around. 

Why Sensitivity Occurs After Teeth Whitening 

While there are many benefits of teeth whitening, there are several factors that contribute to teeth sensitivity after teeth whitening. Gaining insight into what these reasons are, can help an individual better understand the process and take proactive steps towards a more comfortable teeth whitening experience. Some common reasons include: 

  • Increased Permeability of Tooth Enamel. Whitening gels can temporarily enhance the permeability of tooth enamel, exposing the underlying and soft dentin layer that contains sensitive nerves. 
  • Pressure from Whitening Trays. Sometimes, when teeth whitening trays are used, they will exert pressure on the teeth, leaving patients with temporary tooth sensitivity after treatment. 
  • Contact with Bleaching Gels. Direct contact between bleaching gels and gums during a whitening treatment can cause short-term irritation and sensitivity. 

Managing Sensitivity After Treatment 

When it comes to managing tooth sensitivity after a teeth whitening treatment, following a few simple strategies can help alleviate discomfort and enhance your overall experience post-treatment. To ensure a comfortable and speedy recovery, follow these tips. 

  • Avoid Hot/Cold Food & Drinks. Avoid consuming extremely hot or cold foods and drinks during the initial 1-2 days post-treatment. 
  • Avoid Acidic Foods & Beverages. Steer clear of acidic items like sodas and citrus fruits, which can aggravate sensitivity. 
  • Use Desensitizing Products. Continue using desensitizing toothpaste and gel for the first 48 hours after treatment. 
  • Gentle Brushing. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and warm water to minimize irritation while brushing. 
  • Use Fluoride Products. Incorporate fluoride-containing toothpaste and mouthwashes to remineralize teeth and block pain signals. 
  • Drinking Through a Straw. Use a straw to consume beverages immediately after treatment to minimize contact with teeth. 

Final Advice on Minimizing Sensitivity After Teeth Whitening 

While experiencing tooth sensitivity after a teeth whitening session is common, Canada Dental Network assures you that there are strategies to help you manage it. With the insight of this guideline, you will now have a better understanding of teeth sensitivity causes, pre-treatment steps, and post-treatment management. Before booking a teeth whitening session, ensure that you consult with a professional and trusted dental office to fully understand the implications of potential sensitivity implications. 

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