Help Sensitive Teeth After Whitening
It doesn’t matter which type or form of teeth whitening procedure you have, you may encounter some sensitivity afterwards, even if you have regular dental visits and healthy, strong enamel. Here’s how to help sensitive teeth after whitening.
When it comes to sensitivity after teeth whitening – as with most things when it comes to your teeth – I think it’s best to be proactive, especially if you already know sensitivity is an issue for you.
The best way to reduce sensitivity is actually to tackle the issue before you hit the dentist’s chair for a professional whitening procedure or using a whitening tray at home.
Although teeth sensitivity is normal after whitening, it can still be a nuisance to deal with. Let’s explore the five best ways to reduce whitening-induced sensitivity.
1. Use sensitivity solutions
I commonly provide patients with a desensitizing toothpaste or a prescription toothpaste with two times the amount of fluoride in it than regular toothpaste to help counter sensitivity after whitening.
It’s best to use this up to two weeks prior to their scheduled whitening appointment. Using potassium nitrate in your whitening tray (if that is your method of choice) can also reduce sensitivity.
Because this substance is only available through your dentist, to be sure to talk to him or her about your plans to whiten so he or she can provide you with the proper and safe materials.
2. Take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agent
In the way you would ward off a headache, I often tell my patients to take 600 mg of Motrin before whitening.
3. Avoid food that’s cold in temperature
Stay away from ice water, popsicles, ice cream sandwiches – you get the picture. These foods and beverages will irritate your already sensitive teeth, so it’s best to leave them in the freezer.
4. Brush your teeth before, not after whitening
Brushing your teeth right after you whiten them will further open pores of exposed dentin, which further breeds sensitivity. It can also damage your enamel, as some bleaching agents are highly acidic.
Allow your teeth to recover afterwards. Hold off on brushing for at least a couple of hours.
5. Reduce the frequency and duration of treatment
If you know you have sensitive teeth, perhaps cut down using a whitening tray from two hours to 90 minutes, or use the tray once per week instead of two.
No matter the whitening method you choose, I highly recommend my patients schedule a consultation with me before they whiten. I will guide you through the whitening process, offer my expertise on which method would be best for you, and discuss which products to use that best ward off sensitivity and discomfort.