Tooth whitening is a form of cosmetic dentistry that removes stains and discolourations, leaving you with sparkling white teeth. The only drawback to whitening is that some people report that their teeth are more sensitive following this procedure. Because bleaching agents are used to remove surface and deep stains from each tooth, it’s important to avoid over-the-counter whitening products and only whiten your teeth professionally.

What is tooth sensitivity?

Our teeth are protected by a strong outer layer called enamel. As we age, or due to the effects of over-brushing or eating unhealthy foods, the enamel thins and leaves the underlying surface of the tooth exposed. The underlying surface is called dentin and when there isn’t enough enamel left to protect it, your teeth will be sensitive to hot, cold and acidic foods and beverages. For those with severe tooth sensitivity, even the simple act of breathing in cold air on a winter’s day can be uncomfortable. Tooth sensitivity can become burdensome but there are other forms of cosmetic dentistry such as veneers that can help with this issue. But, that doesn’t mean you should be discouraged from professionally whitening your teeth.

Will my teeth be sensitive after whitening?

If you use an over-the-counter tooth whitening product, there is a higher chance that your teeth will be sensitive following this cosmetic dentistry procedure. However, if you visit your dentist for a professional tooth whitening, then the chances of the procedure leaving you with sensitive teeth are slim. When your dentist performs the whitening procedure, they use trays that are specifically fitted to your mouth and control the amount of bleaching agent used. There is no chance of the agent spilling over onto your gums since the trays used are designed specifically for your mouth shape.

Furthermore, your dentist controls the time you will be wearing the trays. With over-the-counter products there are generic directions and time suggestions that won’t work for everyone. You may be leaving the whitening product on too long, upping your chances of developing tooth sensitivity.

If you already have sensitive teeth, the chances of them becoming more sensitive after a whitening procedure is possible. Visit your dentist for a professional whitening and avoid the over-the-counter whiteners to ensure that your teeth are protected during this cosmetic dentistry procedure. Please contact Willow Dental for more information about our whitening procedures.