When your teeth are stained or discolored, it can lead to a great deal of self-consciousness. You may feel reluctant to smile, laugh, yawn, or speak around others, even people that you've known for many years. For that reason, many people turn to cosmetic dentistry treatments in order to achieve a smile that his brighter and whiter. Teeth whitening treatment is a great option for achieving such a smile, though patients often notice that their teeth are sensitive after undergoing treatment. This is true whether they undergo professional whitening treatment or use an at-home teeth whitening kit.
We'd like to take a few moments right now to look at the causes of tooth sensitivity after teeth whitening and how you can reduce discomfort in the days after treatment.
Whether it's an at-home whitening kit or a professional bleaching treatment, the fundamentals are basically the same. The teeth are exposed to a hydrogen peroxide solution that penetrates the enamel layer of the teeth, whitening the tooth structure in the process.
During the teeth whitening process, the hydrogen peroxide in the whitening gel will penetrate into the tooth structure in such a way that the tooth feels more sensitive. This irritation is caused when the bleaching agent travels through small holes in the tooth known as dental tubules. The hydrogen peroxide gel opens up these dental tubules, making the teeth extra sensitive to hot or cold substances.
Generally the tooth sensitivity after teeth whitening treatment will only last for a few hours to a few days, diminishing with time. It can be very uncomfortable for some patients, however. Right now we want to look at how this tooth sensitivity can be reduced and managed after teeth whitening treatment.
After undergoing teeth whitening treatment, your cosmetic dentist may place a tooth desensitzer on your treated teeth. This helps reduce sensations of sensitivity in the immediate aftermath of the treatment.
For the next two or three days after teeth whitening treatment, we recommend that patients avoid eating foods or drinking beverages that are hot or cold. Instead, foods and drinks should be lukewarm and/or room temperature. The same goes for water used to rinse the teeth or gargle when cleaning the teeth.
If a patient is using an at-home whitening kit, we urge them to follow the instructions closely and not expose their teeth to the bleaching solution any longer than recommended. Overdoing it with the whitening gel can make mild tooth sensitivity more severe.
If your teeth are still very sensitive after four days and you have not noticed a gradual reduction in sensitivity during that time, it's important that you speak with us. We'll work with you to determine a best solution for this problem.
For more information about the many different options out there for achieving a healthy and beautiful smile, be sure to contact our Scottsdale cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The entire team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve all of your aesthetic and dental health goals.