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Why Teeth Are Often Sensitive Following Whitening Procedures

Posted on 3/25/2018 by WDG Office
Teeth Sensitivity Midwest Dental Wauwatosa WI 53226We've all seen the coffee memes depicting the American obsession with the drink. Unfortunately, coffee, among other things, like tea and nicotine, leave unsightly stains on teeth.

Unsurprisingly, millions turn to teeth whitening products, whether done professionally or at home. While the results keep people coming back, there is one side effect to be prepared for: teeth sensitivity.

The painful tingling that those who whiten are undoubtedly familiar with can be lessened beforehand, in preparation, or after, in a few different ways. There are also variations in this sensitivity in direct correlation with which process you use and how long your teeth are exposed to the chemicals.

What Causes the Sensitivity?

The short answer is the chemicals in the whiteners. There are two different types of whitener, bleaching and non-bleaching. Bleaching products use carbamide peroxide, which turns into hydrogen peroxide.

The chemicals remove stains both deep inside the tooth and also on the surface. Non-bleaching products work to remove surface stains.

It is the bleaching type that causes the most sensitivity. As the peroxide soaks down into the tooth's enamel, it exposes the nerves in the dentin beneath. This sensitivity is temporary, generally stopping after the treatment, or for just a day or two after.

The severity of tooth sensitivity can be different for each individual, depending on the type of process used, bleaching product quality and time exposed to the product. Professional products contain higher amounts of hydrogen peroxide as opposed to OTC methods.

Thankfully, there are several different ways to reduce this tooth pain, among them, reducing frequency and wearing time of treatments, using a desensitizing toothpaste before and after, and avoiding foods with extreme temperatures for a couple of days post-whitening.

Make sure to come in before using any type of treatment, to consult with the dentist on which option is right for you!

Wauwatosa Dental Group

Midwest Dental Wauwatosa
2600 North Mayfair Road
Suite 750
Wauwatosa, WI 53226

Monday–Thursday: 7:30am–5:30pm

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