Some individuals who have their teeth whitened develop temporary tooth sensitivity, which can lead to a feeling of tingling, irritation or even pain. The problem gradually goes away, but it can be aggravating in the meantime. Certain strategies can help you prevent this sensitivity or at least reduce discomfort after whitening.
Use Gentle Products and Shorter Application Times
Rather than a 25-percent or stronger hydrogen peroxide product, use one with 5, 6 or 10 percent instead.
Apply the substance for only half or even one-third of the time listed in the instructions. Your results will not be as dramatic as quickly, but you'll still see noticeable improvements.
Never leave a product on for a longer time than the instructions recommend. You may hope for better whitening results, but you're likely to wind up feeling lousy due to teeth pain.
Have the Whitening Done by Professionals
When you have teeth bleaching done at a dental clinic (such as from George S Cochran DDS) rather than doing it yourself at home, the dentist can evaluate your teeth and gums to make sure you don't have any problems that could cause sensitivity.
During the whitening sessions, the hygienist can monitor whether your teeth are becoming sensitive. Talk about your concerns beforehand and arrange a method for alerting the staff to the problem if none of them are in the room at that moment. The clinic probably already has such a method ready, such as providing you with a bell to ring.
The hygienist then swiftly removes the bleaching substance so your teeth don't develop any further discomfort.
Use Anti-Inflammatory Products
If you have your teeth whitened at a dental clinic, the hygienist can provide you with a paste you apply to your teeth to decrease inflammation. Taking ibuprofen also will help because of its anti-inflammatory properties. However, don't take ibuprofen or another pain relief medication before your appointment, because then you won't know if sensitivity is developing.
Avoid Certain Activities
Primarily, you'll want to avoid consuming hot or very cold foods and beverages while your teeth are sensitive, or at least avoid having those substances contact your teeth. You might drink icy beverages with a straw, for example. Your teeth are more susceptible to staining immediately after whitening, so your post-bleaching instructions advise you not to drink tea or coffee unless you do so with a straw.
Avoid brushing your teeth for several hours after whitening. When you do brush, don't do so vigorously. Gentle brushing with a soft-bristled brush is best for now.
If you do develop sensitivity from teeth bleaching, it shouldn't last more than a few days. In the meantime, treat your pearly whites with gentle and tender loving care, and you'll minimize the discomfort.