How to Prevent Sensitivity after Teeth Whitening

Whiter, brighter teeth is one of the most requests our patients share with us at Germantown Dental Group, a leading cosmetic dentistry practice. Although tooth discoloration or staining may seem like a minor cosmetic problem compared to some of the more serious oral health problems experienced by some patients, the color of the teeth can actually greatly affect the overall appearance of the smile. Teeth that have become yellow or gray not only distract from the natural beauty of the teeth, but they also give the impression that the teeth are unhealthy or unclean. This is not the impression that most of us would like to make with our smile. Fortunately, our dentists offer professional teeth whitening in order to brighten the teeth up to several shades and remove surface stains from the teeth.

Our Memphis patients should understand that following teeth whitening, sensitivity occasionally is experienced by some patients. There are two likely causes of increased sensitivity following teeth whitening. The first is that the bleach will clean the years of debris from the dentinal tubules , making them more porous and therefore, more sensitive. The second is that increased blood flow to the teeth can occur after teeth whitening. This increased blood flow can create pressure on the nerves that results in heightened sensitivity. In either case, teeth sensitivity is a temporary condition that should only last a few days. We offer our patients useful tips that can help prevent or greatly decrease sensitivity following teeth whitening. Some useful tips include:

  • Avoid extreme temperatures: In order to avoid discomfort due to sensitivity, patients should avoid food and beverages that are extremely hot or cold for the first few days following teeth whitening. Patients should stick to food that is lukewarm or room temperature.
  • Avoid acidic food and beverages: The teeth will be vulnerable to the damaging effects of acid after teeth whitening. To avoid damage to the tooth’s enamel and increased sensitivity, avoid acidic foods and beverages such as citrus fruit and juices and soda for several days after teeth whitening.
  • Brush with a soft bristled toothbrush: A firm or hard toothbrush can be abrasive to the teeth and cause increased discomfort following teeth whitening. For this reason, patients should switch to a soft bristled toothbrush after teeth whitening treatment.
  • Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth: Using a toothpaste that is formulated for sensitive teeth can help decrease discomfort and sensitivity after teeth whitening. We sill provide the toothpaste to use a week prior to minimize any sensitivity.
  • Take pain medication: If the patient is healthy, it is acceptable to take Tylenol or Ibuprofen either before or after teeth whitening in order to avoid or treat discomfort due to sensitivity.

With these precautions, a patient should be able to enjoy the results of teeth whitening with minimal sensitivity or discomfort.

Schedule an Appointment

If you would like to improve the appearance of your smile by brightening and whitening the color of your teeth, schedule an appointment with one of our experienced cosmetic dentists at Germantown Dental Group. We look forward to giving you the bright and beautiful smile you desire!