Your smile is looking fresh and bright, but chances are you're trying to figure out how to deal with sensitivity after teeth whitening treatment.
Tooth whitening treatments are both popular, and, providing they're correctly and appropriately used, a safe way of achieving a whiter smile and the increase in self confidence that comes with it. The major downside of treating stains and discoloration is that you might feel a degree of discomfort after the treatment. This can generally be fairly easily managed. Here's some sensible advice on how to deal with sensitivity after teeth whitening treatment. Thanks to stvincentsmile.co.uk for giving me these tips to share with you!
1. Understanding the Problem
Understanding why you're in pain is always reassuring and is your first step in how to deal with sensitivity after teeth whitening treatment. Most of the time, discomfort after teeth whitening is caused by the bleaching agents used in the whitening formulas. This soaks into the enamel that protects teeth and makes the tooth nerve more sensitive. It's unlikely that you'll feel pain while the whitening product is being applied, instead you'll become aware of it when you drink or eat something hot, cold, acidic or sugary after the treatment.
2. What to do
Once you understand why your teeth are hurting, certain answers to the question of how to get rid of tooth sensitivity from whitening become fairly obvious:
- Avoid hot and cold drinks for a couple of days after your treatment.
- Drinking through a straw will allow you to bypass your teeth.
- Avoid acidic or sweet foods or drinks after your whitening treatment.
- Brush your teeth using a soft brush and lukewarm water, not cold water.
- Many hot drinks, including tea and coffee are likely to cause stains and they're best avoided by anyone who's recently had a tooth bleaching treatment.
3. Prevention is Better than a Cure
Other tips for dealing with sensitivity after teeth whitening treatments focus on making it less likely to happen in the first place:
- Even if you plan to use an over the counter tooth whitening preparation, visit your dentist first.
- Address underlying dental or gum health issues before starting any cosmetic treatments.
- Use a desensitising toothpaste for a few weeks before you start the whitening procedure.
- Use desensitising agents immediately before and after treatments.
- Ask your dentist to use a tooth whitening agent with an added desensitising ingredient.
- Use a weaker concentration of whitening agent, or shorten the length of time you use it for.
- Increase the length of time between treatments.
- Switch from a bleach based to a non-bleach whitening treatment. This will have a less dramatic effect, but shouldn't cause pain.
If none of these methods help, you can use a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as aspirin or ibuprofen. But if the degree of pain you're experiencing is severe enough to need painkillers, you should get in touch with your dentist to find out why.
4. How Much Pain is Too Much Pain?
To some extent this depends on the individual, but one very reasonable question about teeth whitening sensitivity is how long does it last. In general if your teeth are still giving you pain more than 48 hours after the treatment you should take steps to find out why.
Most sensitivity after tooth whitening is caused by changes to enamel, but it's also possible that badly fitting bleaching trays have allowed the whitening agent to reach the gum tissues and irritate them. In this case you definitely need to change your home treatment (or your dentist!).
Any significant degree of dental pain is always a reason to make an appointment with your dentist.
He or she will check to see that there's no underlying issues that need to be addressed, conduct some tests to assess your likely sensitivity in the future, and devise a treatment program that meets your specific needs.