Tooth Whitening And Sensitivity — Understanding The Problem And The Solution

Professional dental whitening can help to remove a significant number of tooth stains. Unfortunately, some people are not happy with the whitening results due to sensitivity. This is often the case due to mistakes that are made directly after the whitening. Specifically, you need to be concerned about the types of things that you do within the first 48 hours. Keep reading to understand why and also to learn what you need to do to reduce sensitivity. 

Dental Whitening And Your Teeth

When you receive a professional dental whitening, your dentist will use a carbamide peroxide solution. The material works its way into the small cracks of your dental enamel. As the gel oxidizes, it forces debris to break away from the teeth. Basically, a tooth whitening releases the compounds that make the teeth appear discolored. They do not bleach or change the color of the enamel. 

When the debris is released, the openings in the enamel are revealed. This exposes the dentin underneath. Dentin is much more porous than enamel and contains small openings called dental tubules. These tubes run from the pulp chamber to the outside edge of the dentin. Dental tubules allow the tooth pulp to feel stimuli like temperature changes and pressure. The openings contain small nerve fibers and your teeth feel sensations strongly through the fibers when a whitening is completed.

Sensitivity Reduction

The strongest tooth sensations are likely to be felt within the first few days after your whitening. The things that you do can make the sensations strong and uncomfortable. Since the pores in the dentin will be exposed, you should avoid anything that can trigger pain for a few days. Hot and cold foods should be avoided and so should acidic foods like oranges and grapefruits. You should cover your mouth so the dentin is not exposed to cold air when you go outside. You should also be gentle when you brush your teeth. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and also use a toothpaste that is free of hard abrasive agents.

Allow your teeth to naturally adjust after the whitening. The dentin tubules will start to close after several days. Sensitivity will reduce when this happens. If pain and soreness continue, then you can use a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. The paste contains an ingredient that will block off the tubules so tooth sensations are not as strong. 

Also, make sure to use fluoride products after dental whitening. Fluoride helps to remineralize the teeth to close off some of the cracks in the enamel. This can reduce your sensitivity by exposing less of the dentin tubules. 

For more information, contact a professional in your area or visit a website like