It’s not a controversial statement to say we all want great teeth and an attractive smile. However, sometimes surface stains and discoloration hold us back from our potential. Whether our confidence is waning, we’re avoiding taking photos, or even skipping out on important social functions, discontent with your teeth should not hold you back from enjoying life.
A teeth whitening treatment is the fastest, least invasive, and cost-effective cosmetic treatment that can do wonders for your smile. However, it’s not uncommon to experience tooth sensitivity after whitening. To learn more about why this happens, how to prevent it, and alleviate discomfort, read on.
Tooth sensitivity following a whitening treatment is due to dentin hypersensitivity. Hydrogen peroxide is the active ingredient in whitening gels and this chemical bleaches the teeth by breaking down staining molecules through oxidation.
However, in this process, it causes demineralization of your tooth enamel, which increases the porosity of your teeth, exposing the dentinal tubules.
The dentinal tubules are connected to the tooth’s nerves which are responsible for sensation, leading to hypersensitivity, especially in response to air or extreme temperatures. However, there’s no need to worry. Tooth sensitivity will resolve itself within a few days, as your enamel remineralizes itself.
There are a few preventative measures you can take, such as taking pain relief medication and using a desensitizing gel before your whitening treatment. This is more effective at calming your nerves if you do this before the treatment in our McLean office.
If you already have sensitive teeth, you may want to opt for the take-home treatment, which contains a lower concentration of peroxide. Ensure that you follow the instructions and don’t leave the whitening trays on for too long.
Limit your consumption of very hot or cold foods, as these will trigger tooth sensitivity. Make sure you’re not using a toothbrush with hard bristles. Instead, opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush and sensitive toothpaste.
If you still experience sensitivity, consider cutting back on whitening treatments by spacing them out or applying them for a shorter amount of time. Ask your McLean dentist what you can do about tooth sensitivity.