A common desire among patients is to have a bright, white smile. It can be a symbol of confidence and good oral hygiene. As a result, many look to teeth whitening to change the shade of their teeth. This cosmetic option is a popular way to achieve that radiant grin. But, sometimes, it can lead to sensitivity.
Why Does Teeth Sensitivity Occur During Whitening?
Teeth whitening products, whether over-the-counter or professional, contain active ingredients. For example, hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide are common. These ingredients work to break down and remove stains from your teeth. During this process, they can penetrate the porous enamel. This temporarily reaches the sensitive dentin layer beneath.
Furthermore, whitening gels can cause a temporary loss of moisture in your teeth. This can lead to increased sensitivity. Dehydrated teeth are more susceptible to temperature changes and other stimuli that trigger discomfort.
Finally, some whitening products can come into contact with your gums. As a result, this will cause irritation and discomfort. This can lead to sensitivity along the gum line.
How to Avoid Teeth Sensitivity During Whitening
There are several strategies that you can use to minimize tooth sensitivity.
Consult Your Dentist
Before embarking on any teeth whitening journey, it’s best to consult your dentist. They can assess your oral health and suggest the best whitening method for you. They may also perform a dental cleaning to remove any plaque and tartar. This can affect the whitening process.
Choose the Right Product
Not all whitening products are created equal. Over-the-counter products may be less potent than professional treatments. This means they could be gentler on your teeth. But, professional treatments offer quicker results.
Use a Desensitizing Toothpaste
Desensitizing toothpaste contains ingredients that help alleviate tooth sensitivity. Begin using it a few weeks before starting your whitening treatment. Also, you need to continue throughout the process. This can help build up a protective barrier and reduce the risk of sensitivity.
Follow Instructions Carefully
Whether using an at-home whitening kit or getting an in-office treatment, always follow the instructions. Overuse or misuse of whitening products can lead to increased sensitivity.
Limit Whitening Frequency
Avoid excessive whitening treatments. The American Dental Association recommends that you wait at least two weeks between whitening sessions. This allows your teeth to recover and reduce the risk of sensitivity.
Shorten Treatment Duration
If you’re using an at-home whitening kit, consider reducing the duration of each session. For example, instead of whitening for 30 minutes, try 15-minute sessions. Therefore, you can minimize the exposure of your teeth to the whitening agent.
Drinking water before and after whitening treatments can help maintain moisture in your teeth and reduce the risk of dehydration-related sensitivity.
Monitor Your Diet
Limit your consumption of acidic and sugary foods during and after whitening treatments. This is because these can worsen sensitivity. In addition, you should consider the temperatures of your diet. During the process, avoid extremely hot or cold foods and beverages for a few days. Your teeth may be more sensitive during this time.