Can Sensitive Teeth Be Whitened?

Chances are you’ve thought about whitening your teeth to improve your smile. It is one of the easiest and most popular ways to enhance your smile. Its popularity isn’t surprising since it’s relatively inexpensive and well-tolerated by most people. However, if you have sensitive teeth, you are probably wary of teeth whitening because you’ve heard it can make your teeth more sensitive.

In the past, teeth whitening has caused some temporary sensitivity for certain individuals. Still, recent advancements in tooth whitening for sensitive teeth have made it possible for anyone with healthy teeth to turn up the brightness without being uncomfortable. Some of today’s tooth whitening options can now be fine-tuned, with various concentrations of peroxide to make the whitening treatment a comfortable one. Less peroxide means less chance of sensitivity. In addition, there are also products explicitly designed for sensitive teeth.

Why Does Teeth Whitening Make My Teeth Sensitive?

A form of peroxide is used in teeth whitening products. The peroxide penetrates the enamel to brighten and remove stains. During this process, the solution can irritate the nerves in the dentin (the inside, soft layer of the tooth). The whitening gel’s peroxide becomes inactive after a short time, but the pores in the enamel remain open for a while. This causes the teeth to dehydrate, leading to sensitivity. After several hours, the teeth rehydrate and the pores close, relieving the discomfort. Some sensitivity can remain if the peroxide solution is too concentrated or misused.

How Do I Find the Best Teeth Whitening for Sensitive Teeth?

Your dentist is the best person to talk to if you want to whiten sensitive teeth. Dr. Gordon offers safe and effective teeth whitening options for an in-office whitening treatment and for take-home whitening kits. He will examine your teeth and recommend the best way to minimize sensitivity and get you stunning results.

Professional whitening treatments allow us to monitor your teeth for sensitivity during the process and choose the appropriate strength of whitening gel. We can also apply de-sensitizing toothpaste and gels to your teeth before beginning treatment.

There are also at-home teeth whitening options for sensitive teeth you can purchase at our office. These include gels and custom whitening trays. We recommend purchasing whitening trays through our office, as we have carefully selected products designed for your safety and health. Some over-the-counter options may be harsh and lead to greater sensitivity.

The Best Teeth Whitening Products for Sensitive Teeth

In-office:

At Home:

  • Custom made whitening trays with whitening gel concentration determined by Dr. Gordon
  • Colgate Optic White Professional Kit for those patients who have sensitivity to Custom tray whitening

6 Tips for Minimizing Discomfort from Teeth Whitening

Whether you choose an at-home whitening treatment or have Dr. Gordon whiten your teeth professionally or a combination of these treatments, there are steps you can take to reduce sensitivity and maintain your newly whitened smile longer:

Brush Correctly

It’s best to brush your teeth before doing a whitening treatment to remove plaque buildup from tooth surfaces. The bleaching process temporarily opens the pores on your teeth and brushing right afterwards can aggravate sensitivity. When you brush your teeth, use a soft-bristle toothbrush, and avoid scrubbing.

Pay Attention to the Instructions

Read through the instructions from beginning to end before using any at-home whitening products. Do not leave teeth whitening products on sensitive teeth for longer than recommended. You can choose to use less time than suggested if you like.

Don’t Overdo It

Whitening frequently or leaving your tooth whitening trays in too long can increase tooth sensitivity. Pay close attention to the amount of gel dispensed along with the recommended length of time for wearing the tray and frequency of treatment.

Desensitize Before Whitening

There are several commercial brands of toothpaste for sensitive teeth on the market. There is also prescription toothpastes for sensitive teeth that we can dispense. For some patients, a specific desensitizing product may be recommended for use during the entire whitening treatment. Special desensitizing gels are formulated for oral use and can be dispensed from the office which will allow for more comfortable treatment.

Always Rinse

After using any teeth whitening product, rinse your mouth with warm (not hot) water to flush away the remaining bleach. You should also rinse after eating or drinking highly acidic food or beverages such as citrus. Avoid brushing for thirty minutes to allow for enamel remineralization.

Choose Low-Level Whitening

Take the “less is more” approach to teeth whitening for sensitive teeth. You are still able to get that great whiter smile with the use of lower concentrations of whitening agents.

If you have sensitive teeth but long for a bright smile, Dr. Gordon can help you determine the best teeth whitening options for you. To schedule an appointment, call Mark J. Gordon, DDS Office Phone Number (913) 649-4042 or visit our website to use our easy, online scheduling form.

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