After you whiten your teeth, they can be sensitive for up to two weeks. Here’s what to do if this happens to you.
When it comes to having a great smile that lights up the room, there are few things as powerful and effective at getting people talking about how beautiful your pearly whites look than a bright white set of gleaming dental implants.
But when it comes down to living with them day in and day out, your teeth may need some help adjusting, especially after tooth whitening treatments. Even though we all have different food and beverage tastes, even the most discerning palette has its limits.
The same goes for human teeth. Not everyone can handle the effects of strong bleaching agents on their enamel without experiencing temporary discomfort or pain (and sometimes longer-term sensitivity). So, before deciding whether or not to go through with a procedure, consider these symptoms.
Sensitive teeth tend to occur more often among products like over-the-counter whiteners and professional trays explicitly designed for home use. Those using other whitening systems such as strips, rinses, and gels might also experience milder forms of post-whitening side effects.
These include irritation, gum soreness, and dry mouth. And while the first two usually subside within days, long-lasting tooth sensitivity is something many patients encounter after treatment, particularly during the initial week following the process.
There have been reports of cases where those affected by severe tooth sensitivity experienced discomfort lasting up to six months.
However, most people eventually get used to any new sensation once they’ve become accustomed to it, but don’t let yourself fall victim to chronic pain and suffering. It could mean you’re doing permanent damage to your oral health.
Read on to find out why tooth sensitivity occurs and how best to manage it so you’ll feel comfortable eating again sooner rather than later.
What Causes Sensitive Teeth After Whitening?
Several factors contribute to tooth sensitivity after an individual undergoes a whitening procedure. First off, the intensity of the bleach applied to one’s teeth plays a significant role. More potent formulas result in greater degrees of staining reduction, which means less time between sessions.
When considering whitening options, make sure the product contains 15 percent carbamide peroxide, or higher, which will allow the practitioner to achieve desired results faster. In addition, the length of the session itself also makes a big difference.
Most dentists recommend keeping treatment times no longer than 30 minutes to avoid irritating the patient’s gums. Also, patients should wait a couple of hours to brush their teeth right afterward. This gives the bleach enough time to work its magic while simultaneously preventing further irritants from rubbing against the newly polished surfaces.
Finally, keep in mind that prolonged exposure to high oxygen concentrations can cause burns to the skin around the eyes and lips. While rare, individuals allergic to latex rubber gloves may develop similar reactions.
Therefore, always follow the instructions provided by your dentist regarding proper safety measures before and after each appointment.
Another factor contributing to post-bleach tooth sensitivity involves the chemical composition of the whitener itself. Products containing sodium hexametaphosphate may increase the chance of sensitivity because they contain phosphates.
Sodium tripolyphosphate, however, does not produce the same effect, making it safe for use by anyone hoping to prevent tooth sensitivity. Another common culprit behind post-procedural tooth sensitivity is calcium hydroxide, found in popular brands like Crest ProHealth.
Calcium hydroxide releases hydrogen ions upon contact with water, causing increased acidity levels throughout the body. As much as possible, try avoiding products that contain both ingredients.
Other substances that have been shown to exacerbate tooth sensitivity include zinc citrate, potassium nitrate, and strontium chloride. Keep reading to learn tips for dealing with this problem.
How To Prevent Sensitivity With Teeth Whitening
If you want to reduce the chances of developing tooth sensitivity after going through a whitening regimen, you must abide by certain precautions. One strategy is to choose a low concentration formula developed with gentle abrasives instead of harsh chemicals.
Dentists also suggest using custom-made trays made just for whitening procedures. They serve as protective barriers, allowing the bleach deeper access to the surface of the teeth, thus reducing the likelihood of painful sensations along the way.
Lastly, taking extra care to ensure good hygiene practices after visiting the dentist helps minimize the risk of post-whitening tooth sensitivity. Regular brushing after treatments and flossing daily can significantly decrease the number of bacteria present near sensitive areas.
Consider incorporating healthy snacks like fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet. Fruits and veggies provide essential vitamins and minerals that assist in rebuilding the body’s natural defense mechanisms against harmful microorganisms.
Antioxidant compounds help neutralize free radicals produced by the whitening agent, thereby minimizing the damaging impact on the outermost layer of teeth.
While tooth sensitivity may only last a short period, it serves as a clear indicator of potential problems lurking beneath the surface of the gums.
You can catch issues early and begin implementing proactive solutions by paying close attention to changes in your overall oral health routine, including dietary habits, nutrition intake, and general exercise patterns.
Why Tooth Sensitivity Is Variable After A Teeth Whitening
Once patients start exploring ways to cope with tooth sensitivity, they generally find numerous helpful online resources. Some of the most useful websites offer information about the causes, prevention, and management of tooth sensitivities associated with whitening regimens.
Although these sites are informative and beneficial, it doesn’t hurt to consult a licensed medical expert to gain additional insight into specific circumstances related to personal preferences and lifestyle choices. Here are five key reasons why tooth sensitivity varies by person.
1) Dental Procedures
Some people enjoy the feeling of being touched gently by others’ hands, whereas others prefer softer fabrics.
Either way, it’s never too late to explore alternatives to traditional cotton gauze pads to maintain optimal comfort during cleanings, fillings, crown placement, root planing, and extractions.
Try wearing breathable fabric masks for added protection. Many experts agree that disposable nonstick tape works better than regular paper towels for cleaning teeth since they aren’t rough enough to aggravate sensitive tissues.
2) Personal Hygiene Habits
Indeed, bad breath isn’t caused by food particles stuck in someone’s throat, but poor air circulation can make matters worse. Consider chewing sugarless candies to freshen your breath. Or, opt for minty breath drops to treat halitosis.
Avoid smoking tobacco and alcohol consumption, as these substances promote the growth of odor-causing bacteria in the stomach and intestines.
Don’t forget to replace old toothbrushes regularly. Ideally, switch out brushes every three months or whenever they show wear and tear.
3) Diet and Nutrition
Certain foods that naturally contain vitamin C, B complex vitamins, and beta carotene can boost immunity and fight infection. Consume plenty of leafy greens, citrus fruit, carrots, and tomatoes to stay healthy.
Eat lots of whole grains, fish, lean meat, poultry, and eggs. Be mindful of adding spicy sauces and condiments to dishes. Overindulging in fatty foods, caffeine, and refined sugars can dehydrate your system, resulting in cracked lips and dry mucus membranes.
Drinking excessive coffee and caffeinated sodas can lead to dehydration and exhaustion. Stick to drinking eight glasses of fluids daily.
4) General Health Factors
Prolonged periods of sleep deprivation can leave you tired and cranky. Taking naps throughout the day can give you energy boosts. Chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune diseases weaken immune defenses, leaving sufferers prone to infections.
Dealing with stress can put undue strain on the heart muscle, increasing blood pressure and weakening capillaries. Smoking cigarettes depletes vital nutrients and increases respiratory complications. Obesity leads to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Taking prescription medications requires a doctor’s supervision. Certain antibiotics target viruses, fungi, or parasites. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, and immunosuppressants suppress the body’s ability to heal itself.
People with diabetes require careful monitoring to regulate blood glucose levels. People with epilepsy need to monitor medication doses to control seizures carefully.