Teeth whitening is a great way to brighten your teeth and boost your self-confidence. But can it really cause tooth sensitivity? In this blog from BORO Dental Arts, we’ll answer a few common FAQs about teeth whitening and sensitivity. Read on to get all the answers you need.
Yes. Teeth whitening is known to cause sensitivity in most people. This is due to the chemicals used to bleach stains away from your teeth. In most cases, this sensitivity goes away within a few days after your treatment.
However, whitening-induced sensitivity may last longer in people who have sensitive teeth due to thin enamel or other such dental issues. Still, sensitivity after whitening is usually nothing to be concerned about.
Dentists actually are still not 100% sure about what makes teeth sensitive after whitening. However, the leading theories have to do with “dentinal microtubules,” which are microscopic structures in the teeth that connect the outer enamel to the interior nerve, allowing your teeth to feel sensations when you chew and bite.
The theory is that the peroxide used to whiten teeth weakens the enamel slightly, exposing these microtubules more than usual. This makes them more sensitive to pressure, heat, and cold.
Then, as you brush and care for your teeth after your treatment, fluoride helps attract minerals back to your teeth, strengthening them and covering up the microtubules. This would explain why whitening-induced sensitivity usually only lasts a few days.
Yes. However, Dr. Lau may want to perform an oral exam and discuss your oral health with you before your teeth whitening treatment. Some people have naturally sensitive teeth due to thin enamel or other genetic factors. But in some cases, sensitivity can indicate hidden issues like gum disease or cavities, which must be treated before your teeth can be whitened.
In addition, Dr. Lau may choose to adjust your treatment and whiten your teeth more gradually. This will help you manage your sensitivity during the whitening process, and keep you more comfortable.
First, we recommend continuing to brush regularly. The fluoride in your toothpaste will help strengthen your enamel and reduce sensitivity in your teeth. You can also consider using Sensodyne or another brand of anti sensitivity toothpaste. These products contain special chemicals that help reduce sensitivity and may keep you more comfortable.
In addition, we recommend avoiding extremely cold or hot foods and drinks during your treatment and for a few days after your treatment, as these may worsen your sensitivity.
The same is true of very hard or tough foods that may require you to bite down with a lot of force. For your comfort, you should avoid chewing nuts, steak, and other such foods until your sensitivity starts to fade.
At BORO Dental Arts, Dr. Lau is an expert in teeth whitening and cosmetic dentistry in Long Island City and Queensboro. If you’d like to learn more about improving your smile with teeth whitening, just give us a call at 917-201-7999 contact us online to schedule an appointment.