Ask a Dentist

March 3, 2023

Q: Why Are My Teeth So Sensitive After I Whiten Them?

Woman wearing sunhat grimacing after eating a cone of ice cream

Teeth whitening is a safe and effective procedure for a brighter smile. However, it’s quite common to experience some side effects after the treatment, including tooth sensitivity. Fortunately, the sensitivity is only temporary, but it can cause discomfort during the first few days after your procedure. Continue reading to learn why teeth whitening treatments can cause temporary sensitivity and how you can manage it.

What Causes Teeth Sensitivity After Whitening?

The bleaching agent in the treatment can be the cause of teeth whitening-induced sensitivity. Bleaching agents like carbamide and hydrogen peroxide are found in many whitening products and have been shown to cause greater sensitivity

If you’re experiencing mouth irritation or pain after using an at-home whitening kit, it may be because poorly fitted gel trays are irritating your gums, or the treatment isn’t being correctly applied.

If sensitivity occurs while you’re whitening your teeth at home, you should stop the treatment and visit your dentist. They will use additional ingredients, such as fluoride and potassium nitrate, to help combat the sensitivity.

How Will I Know If My Teeth Are Sensitive?

Teeth sensitivity usually manifests as sharp, temporary pain while brushing, eating or drinking. But sensitivity after a whitening treatment may feel different. Speak with your dentist about what to expect after whitening your teeth.

How Do I Manage Teeth Whitening Sensitivity

You should consult a dental professional if you continue to experience sensitive teeth even after you’ve stopped your treatment. Here are some simple, at-home steps you can take that may provide some relief:

  • Use a lower concentration of whitening treatment
  • Increase time between treatments
  • Hold off on using teeth whitening products until sensitivity reduces
  • Use a desensitizing treatment or varnish, applied chair-side in your dental office
  • Brush twice daily with sensitivity toothpaste that contains fluoride

When you’re ready to whiten your teeth, our team at Dental Image Therapy Centres can ensure you get a brighter smile without overly-sensitive teeth. We’ll whiten your smile while minimizing potential side effects, ensuring you feel great when you leave our dental office. Book an appointment with us virtually or stop by one of our two dental clinics at St. Vital Centre or Garden City Shopping Centre.

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