Enjoy whiter teeth and minimize discomfort
Tooth whitening offers patients an alternative to stained teeth; however, some people are sensitive to this treatment. Fortunately, there are steps to take before, during and after a treatment that can help prevent sensitivity from tooth whitening.
Causes of sensitivity from whitening
Consider that your teeth consist of both a hard outer layer (the enamel) and a softer interior layer (the dentin). The dentin contains nerves that become sensitive when they’re exposed. During tooth whitening, the enamel is more permeable, which can expose the dentin and cause tooth sensitivity.
Also, the bleaching molecules from tooth whitening penetrate into the teeth, which causes more blood to flow, besides increased pressure in a tooth pulp. This increase in pressure causes the tooth nerve to become irritated, so your teeth have a greater sensitivity to many types of stimuli.
Pre-treatment prevention measures
- Take an anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, about an hour before a whitening treatment. Because the effectiveness of these drugs can wear off in a couple of hours, you’ll probably need to take more later. Just be sure to consult your dentist or doctor before you take any medicines.
- Avoid consuming acidic foods and beverages. Bleaching can remove the protective protein layer (called pellicle) from teeth, which can make your teeth more susceptible to acids.
- Use a desensitizing gel to help to calm the nerves in the dentin.
Prevention during treatment
- If you’re doing the treatment at home, take out bleaching trays according to product instructions. In other words, don’t leave them on your teeth longer than needed.
- Check the peroxide level of a product. For most people, a 6 to 10 percent peroxide level is what’s considered a low level. Just because a product has more peroxide, doesn’t mean it gives better results. Even worse, it can cause tooth discomfort.
After your whitening treatment, follows these guidelines to reduce the likelihood of tooth sensitivity:
- Limit the amount of cold foods and drinks that you consume. Post-whitening, your teeth can be sensitive to cold temperatures, which can irritate sensitivity problems.
- Don’t brush your teeth immediately after a treatment. Instead, brush them just before you have a whitening.
- When you do brush your teeth, use a soft bristled toothbrush.
Besides being more effective, a professional whitening treatment is also safer. For any questions, call Dr. James Beineman. Our Centennial, Colorado dental practice offers treatments for orthotropics, sleep apnea, cosmetic dentistry and other issues. Please contact us for all your dental needs.