The Journal of the American Dental Association recently published a study that reports mild tooth sensitivity occurs in about half of all patients who use home whitening kits to achieve a brighter smile.
This sensitivity is temporary, lasting only a few days. Some describe these feelings as aching, and others say it’s more of a stinging sensation.
Dr. Janice Spada, Sudbury MA dentist, who offers teeth whitening, explains how to overcome sensitivity without compromising results.
The Link Between Sensitivity and Bleaching
Whenever the nerves in your teeth have been stimulated by bleaching, you experience fleeting sensitivity. You can minimize these effects by brushing your teeth before and after your whitening treatment with toothpaste that lists potassium nitrate and fluoride in the ingredients.
If you follow all instructions when using your teeth whitening kit, you will be less likely to develop sensitivity afterwards. Wearing your bleaching trays for longer than the recommended amount of time does not help achieve results more quickly.
After about three hours, the teeth whitening formula becomes diluted by your saliva, rendering it less effective. At that point, you accomplish nothing but irritating the nerve endings within your teeth.
Treating Sensitive Teeth After Whitening
Any discomfort should go away about two days after you stop bleaching. Bleach opens the tubules, or When you bleach your teeth, you open up tiny pores in our tooth enamel, removing the stain from the tooth surface.
Afterward, your teeth require about 48 hours to replenish minerals lost in the whitening process. Calcium, which strengthens tooth enamel and plugs these pores, helps reduce sensitivity and can be found in certain toothpaste, mouthwash, and rinses.
Because inflammation of the nerves in your teeth are the cause of sensitivity, you can take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to reduce discomfort.
Alternatives to Teeth Whitening
Many of our patients who request teeth whitening also have concerns about other cosmetic aspects of their smile.
If your teeth are badly stained and do not respond to whitening treatment, or if you wish to improve the shape or size of your teeth, you may be a candidate for porcelain veneers.
Veneers address all of these problems with a single procedure—usually two office visits—so you don’t need to undergo several separate treatments.
Dr. Spada also offers Invisalign invisible braces for discrete straightening.
Questions about teeth whitening in Sudbury, MA? To learn more about cosmetic dentistry, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Janice Spada, contact our Boston area dentist office at (978) 443-3111. We welcome patients living in Sudbury, Worcester, Framingham, Marlborough, Boston, and the surrounding communities.