Does Teeth Whitening Cause Tooth Sensitivity?

If you’re interested in getting your teeth professionally whitened, but the fear of sensitivity is keeping you back, you need to read this article.

It breaks down how teeth whitening works and whether it affects your teeth's sensitivity:

Spoiler: It can, but not the way you think. 

How Does Teeth Whitening Work? 

Teeth whitening involves using a bleaching agent (usually peroxide) to break down the molecules that create the stains on the surface of your teeth and lift a few shades to achieve a pearly smile. 

Patients usually need multiple sessions to get the best results, but the exact number depends on the level of staining and discoloration, as well as how white you want your smile to be. 

Sometimes, the bleaching agent applied to the teeth needs activation from a special light, which also helps speed up the process, but many products work as-is. 

What Types of Teeth-Whitening Treatments Are There? 

Here are your options for getting your teeth whitened: 

  • In-office treatments: Here, you’ll need to make a few trips to a dentist’s office to get your teeth whitened. The process usually requires fewer sessions because the dentist can safely use stronger whitening gels and activate them with a light
  • At-home professional kits: A dentist near you can provide you with at-home kits. You’ll receive a custom tray and detailed instructions on how to use the products. This is a convenient option if you don’t have the time to go to the dental practice for your treatment
  • Over-the-counter kits: Today, there are many OTC whitening solutions found online or even at your local drug store. However, these are often much less potent than professional kits, so results can vary greatly. Plus, there is a risk of misusing these products to get better results or speed up the process, which can result in damage. 

Will Teeth Whitening Make Your Teeth More Sensitive? 

Professional teeth whitening is perfectly safe and will only cause temporary tooth sensitivity. The bleaching agents slightly demineralize the tooth enamel, which leads to some discomfort when it’s exposed to heat, cold, or acidic foods and drinks. 

But the side effects only last for around two days. In the meantime, dietary changes, using a desensitizing toothpaste, and taking OTC pain medication can relieve your discomfort. 

Before getting these treatments, a dentist will also screen you to determine if whitening is right for you. If you already have sensitive, weakened, or damaged teeth, they may advise against such treatments. 

Teeth Whitening at Foothill Modern Dental 

Get your teeth safely whitened, either at home or at our office, with Dr. Sarno’s help! A personalized teeth whitening treatment plan is your best chance to get a pearly-white smile with no side effects. 

Request a consultation at Foothill Modern Dental online and stop by to discover your options. 

For more information, call us at (949) 830-3511 today!

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