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Many of our patients and even those using teeth whitening kits report experiencing sensitivity in the few days after treatment. This is common and typically doesn’t last very long. You can do some things to help prevent and treat this hypersensitivity until it fades away naturally. But why does it happen, and how can you prevent it?

Symptoms of Dental Hypersensitivity

Hypersensitivity is something that over half of all dental patients experience and for a variety of reasons. It could be tooth decay, an injury, or just a natural sensitivity. Most hypersensitivity is caused by hot or cold temperatures, pressure, or certain foods like sweets. You may also notice sensitivity while talking or taking a deep breath in when air reaches your teeth.

What Causes It

Why are my teeth sensitive after whitening? Dentin tubules are microscopic channels that run from the tooth’s interior to the exterior, ending just before the outer layer’s enamel. When you whiten your teeth, the whitening formula gets into these tubules and travels to the inside of the tooth, where it aggravates the nerve endings. The feeling is usually temporary as the nerve endings calm down. Most symptoms of hypersensitivity rarely last more than 48 hours.

Sensitive Toothpastes & Gels

We recommend using a sensitive toothpaste or gel in the week or so before your teeth whitening. Sensitive toothpaste helps to seal the dentil tubules to prevent hypersensitivity once you begin treatments. Your dentist may prescribe a stronger sensitive toothpaste or gel to use before and after your appointment or to use during at-home whitening.

When using sensitive toothpaste, try leaving it on for a few seconds longer than you typically would most other pastes. It can increase its effectiveness. Most gels require that you not eat, drink, or rinse your mouth for a while after applying it to your teeth. If you are still asking, “Why are my teeth sensitive after whitening?” and it’s been several days, you may need to schedule an appointment.

Other Tips

When brushing at home, be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and be gentle. Rinse with warm water instead of cold to prevent pain. Drinking through a straw allows drinks to mostly bypass your teeth, even if they are cold or hot, preventing sensitivity. You may want to avoid some drinks like coffee and soda anyway to protect your newly whitened teeth.

Dynamic Dental Solutions offers both in-office and at-home whitening options. To discuss the reasons for bleaching and which option would be best for you, schedule your appointment online or by calling our office at 281-837-9090. We can help you feel more confident in your bigger, brighter smile.

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