Are you experiencing tooth sensitivity to whitening strips or other over-the-counter (OTC) treatments? You’re not alone. Sensitive teeth after whitening is a common side effect, especially when self-applied at home using OTC products instead of by a dental professional. 

In this blog, we discuss everything you need to know about teeth sensitivity after whitening and the best treatment for achieving a whiter smile without the wait (or pain).

What Causes Sensitive Teeth After Whitening?

When you use a teeth whitening treatment, it’s like giving your teeth a deep clean to remove stains and discoloration. However, this process can lead to painful sensitivity. Let’s break down why this happens by understanding the basic structure of a tooth:

  • Enamel: This is the hard, outer layer of your teeth that you can see. It’s like the shield protecting the inner parts of your tooth.
  • Dentin: Beneath the enamel is dentin, which has tiny channels leading to your tooth’s nerve center. When the enamel is weakened or wears down, these channels can get exposed.
  • Pulp: This is the innermost part of the tooth, containing nerves and blood vessels. It’s the life source of your tooth, and when it gets irritated or inflamed, your teeth hurt.

The main ingredient typically used for teeth whitening is hydrogen peroxide. While effective at removing stains, hydrogen peroxide has been shown to cause greater sensitivity. 

As it works, hydrogen peroxide can temporarily make the enamel more porous, allowing some of the whitening agents to reach the dentin and, in some cases, the pulp. When this happens, the nerves can become irritated, leading to the sensitivity or discomfort you might feel after a whitening session. 

Factors contributing to teeth sensitivity after whitening include:

  • The concentration of the whitening agent.
  • The duration of the treatment.
  • Pre-existing dental conditions.
  • Naturally sensitive teeth.

The good news is that tooth sensitivity is typically temporary, and there are ways to manage it to reduce unbearable pain after teeth whitening

How Long Will My Teeth Hurt After Whitening?

The duration of sensitive teeth after whitening varies from person to person. In general, most individuals experience sensitivity for 24-72 hours post-treatment. However, in some cases, teeth sensitivity after whitening may last longer. 

How to Stop Sensitive Teeth Pain Immediately After Whitening

While teeth sensitivity is usually temporary post-whitening, the discomfort can be immediate. Here are some strategies to alleviate pain if you’re saying, “My teeth are killing me after whitening.”

  • Use toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth.
  • Avoid hot or cold foods and beverages for the first few days.
  • Rinse with a fluoride mouthwash to strengthen enamel.
  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. 

Ultimately, the best way to minimize or prevent sensitive teeth from whitening is to have your teeth whitened professionally by a dentist.

Benefits of Professional Teeth Whitening By a Dentist

Opting for a professional whitening treatment at your local dentist’s office has several advantages:

  • Customized Treatment: Dentists provide a personalized approach, considering the underlying cause of your teeth color, sensitivity levels, and desired whiteness. For example, some people have intrinsic stains, while others have extrinsic stains. Whitening treatments should be customized to address the unique makeup of your teeth for the best results.
  • Reduced Side Effects: Dental professionals ensure that the whitening agents are applied safely, reducing the risk of overuse or improper application, which can lead to painful side effects. In addition to tooth sensitivity to whitening strips, OTC whitening kits with gel trays may cause irritation to the gums if not properly applied.
  • Immediate and Long-Lasting Results: Professional teeth whitening treatments provide quicker, safer, and better results compared to OTC options. At Northside Dental Co., we offer Zoom whitening, a professional treatment with impressive results that last up to 6 months. After a two-hour appointment, you walk out with whiter teeth that are up to 8 shades brighter than when you walked in!
  • Aftercare Support: Your dentist can recommend specific aftercare products or routines to reduce sensitivity and guide you in maintaining your whiter smile. This personalized attention helps you maintain not just the aesthetics of your whitening treatment, but also the overall health of your teeth and gums.

If you’re considering teeth whitening, consult with your local dentist to discuss the best options for your smile.

What Is Zoom Teeth Whitening?

Zoom teeth whitening is an in-office treatment administered by a dentist using custom trays and a professional-grade whitening gel activated by a special UV light. Here’s how it works.

  1. Preparation: You’ll receive sensitivity toothpaste to use daily for one to two weeks before your whitening appointment while your custom tray is being made.
  2. Application: The custom tray is carefully filled with hydrogen peroxide-based bleaching gel and placed in your mouth to coat your teeth.
  3. Activation: A specialized UV light is positioned over your teeth to activate the gel. The light and gel work together to break up stains and discoloration on your teeth. 
  4. Reapplication: Typically, the gel is applied for three to four 15-minute sessions of light activation.
  5. Maintenance: You’ll receive a touch-up kit, including your custom-fitted trays and whitening gel for at-home maintenance. Aftercare advice will include recommendations on how to prevent staining and tooth sensitivity.

The entire appointment from start to finish lasts about two hours. While Zoom whitening is an incredible teeth whitening treatment, it’s always advised to have a thorough consultation with your dentist. Your teeth are unique, so what may work well for one person may not be right for you. Your dentist will assess your oral health history to determine the best whitening method for you.

Get Whiter Teeth Today At Northside Dental Co.

If you’re looking for a quick, effective way to brighten your smile, Zoom teeth whitening at Northside Dental Co. offers a premium solution. 

Our experienced team is committed to providing you with a comfortable, safe, and satisfying whitening experience, using state-of-the-art technology for the best results. Say goodbye to stains, discoloration, and painful sensitivity, and hello to a whiter, more confident smile. 

At Northside Dental Co., we’ll assess your oral health and recommend the best whitening treatment for achieving your cosmetic goals. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and take the first step towards a dazzling smile.