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Tooth Sensitivity with Teeth Whitening

A bright, white smile can boost confidence and leave a lasting impression. However, for some, the pursuit of whiter teeth may come with the unwelcome side effect of tooth sensitivity. If you’re considering teeth whitening but worried about sensitivity, fear not! There are ways to achieve a dazzling smile while minimizing discomfort. 

Tooth Sensitivity with Teeth Whitening

What is Tooth Sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity occurs when the protective enamel on our teeth wears down. This can expose the underlying dentin. Enamel wear can happen due to various factors, including aggressive brushing, acidic foods, and teeth whitening treatments. When the dentin is exposed, it can lead to discomfort or pain when exposed to hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks. Over time, you can develop more dental concerns without the right treatmentt. 

Choosing the Right Whitening Method

Not all teeth whitening methods are created equal when it comes to sensitivity. Here are some options to consider:

Over-the-Counter Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste is a gentle way to remove surface stains gradually. Look for toothpaste that is specifically formulated for sensitive teeth to minimize irritation. However, this method can take much longer than others to see results.

Whitening Strips or Gels

Over-the-counter whitening strips or gels can be effective for mild to moderate staining. Opt for products labeled “gentle” or “for sensitive teeth” to reduce the risk of sensitivity.

Professional In-Office Whitening

For more significant whitening results, consider professional, in-office treatments. Your dentist can customize the treatment to your needs and minimize the risk of sensitivity.

Preparing Your Teeth for Whitening

Before starting any whitening treatment, it’s essential to prepare your teeth to minimize sensitivity:

Consult with Your Dentist

Always consult with your dentist before beginning any whitening regimen. They can assess the health of your teeth and gums and recommend the best approach for you.

Address Any Dental Issues

If you have cavities, gum disease, or other dental issues, it’s crucial to address these before whitening your teeth. You may need restorative or preventative treatment before your whitening journey. As a result, treating these issues can help reduce the risk of sensitivity.

Desensitizing Toothpaste

Consider using a desensitizing toothpaste for a few weeks before starting whitening treatment. This can help build up a protective layer on your teeth and reduce sensitivity. Furthermore, it can help with sensitivity following treatment. 

Tips to Avoid Tooth Sensitivity During Whitening

Once you’re ready to begin whitening your teeth, here are some tips to minimize sensitivity:

Follow Instructions Carefully

Whether using whitening strips, gels, or trays, always follow the instructions provided. Overuse or misuse of whitening products can lead to increased sensitivity.

Use Products Sparingly

You don’t need to use a large amount of whitening product to see results. Using a small amount can be just as effective while reducing the risk of sensitivity.

While it may be tempting to whiten your teeth frequently for quick results, this can lead to increased sensitivity. Follow the recommended schedule for your chosen whitening method.

Limit Contact with Gums

Whitening products can irritate the gums and lead to sensitivity. Be careful to avoid getting the product on your gums, and consider using a barrier gel or strips designed to protect the gums.

If you experience increased sensitivity during whitening, take a break for a day or two. This can give your teeth time to recover before continuing the treatment.