Will my teeth be sensitive after whitening?

Patients often ask me if bleaching will make their teeth sensitive. The honest answer is, we won’t know until we start bleaching. Everyone’s teeth respond differently to bleaching materials and everyone has a different level of baseline sensitivity. Typically if you are a person who already has sensitive teeth, it is safe to assume bleaching will probably make you a little more sensitive.

Typically you can assume that the stronger the concentration of the bleach you are using, the more likely you will have some sensitivity. Stronger bleach can penetrate farther into the tooth to remove stains, but this also gives it the potential to irritate the nerve in the tooth.

If you are experiencing sensitivity there are a few things you can do to help. You can switch to a sensitivity reducing toothpaste like Sensodyne. You can also start using this a week or two before you start bleaching for even better sensitivity protection. We can also prescribe a high fluoride gel you brush onto your teeth after bleaching which also helps with sensitivity. Another option is to bleach less often or for a shorter amount of time. If you are bleaching every day, then switch it up to every other day or every 2 days. If you wear your trays for an hour, shorten that to 30 minutes, or any combination of the above. Finally, if none of that works then we may need to use a lesser concentration of bleach material. While your results may not be as dramatic, it is better than painful sensitivity.

Everyone wants a whiter smile and bleaching is a safe and effective way to get one. Please give our office a call with any questions you may have about whitening. I look forward to hearing from you.