If you struggle with teeth sensitivity, you may be hesitant about teeth whitening due to the fear of increased pain or sensitivity. Fortunately, several options are available to help you achieve a whiter, brighter smile without experiencing discomfort.
Today, our dental care team at Sacramento River Dental Group office in Sacramento, CA, will help you explore some of the leading causes of tooth sensitivity and discuss how you can get effective and safe teeth whitening for sensitive teeth.
Table of Contents
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
Let’s first talk about the causes of tooth sensitivity. It’s a relatively common condition that affects numerous people and can be caused by many different factors, which include:
– Teeth Grinding: Grinding your teeth can wear down the enamel, thus leading to sensitivity.
– Tooth Decay: Cavities can lead to tooth sensitivity, particularly if located close to the gum line.
– Enamel Erosion: Enamel is the hard, protective layer on the exterior of your teeth. Once it erodes, it exposes the sensitive dentin underneath.
– Gum Recession: If your gums recede, the tooth’s sensitive tooth (dentin) may become exposed, which can cause sensitivity to cold and hot temperatures.
How Can You Whiten Sensitive Teeth?
If you struggle with sensitive teeth, don’t worry. Several tips and options are available to help you enjoy a glowing smile. Here are some of the options you should consider:
Use toothpaste designed specifically for sensitive teeth before treatment: Look for toothpaste that’s formulated with ingredients capable of reducing sensitivity, such as strontium chloride or potassium nitrate. Toothpaste can help prepare the teeth for whitening by reducing discomfort.
Try using a low-concentration whitening gel: Most whitening kits for use at home come with a high-concentration gel that may cause sensitivity. Today, however, options that have lower concentrations and are gentler on the teeth are available. Look for products containing 10 percent or less hydrogen peroxide to reduce sensitivity.
Consider in-office whitening by a professional: If you have severe sensitivity or want quicker, more effective results, your best option will be in-office teeth whitening. Your dentist will use a stronger whitening gel and take measures to protect your gums while minimizing your tooth sensitivity.
Use desensitizing treatments: You can use a fluoride treatment or desensitizing gel both prior to and after teeth whitening to deal with your tooth sensitivity. That can be the most suitable approach to teeth whitening for sensitive teeth.
Avoid both foods and drinks that may increase sensitivity: Certain foods and drinks, such as citrus fruits, coffee, and soda, can all increase tooth sensitivity. Avoid consuming these for several days before and after the whitening treatment.
What About Dentin Sensitivity Following the Teeth Whitening Treatment?
Even with the abovementioned precautions, you can still experience temporary sensitivity after the whitening treatment, especially to cold and hot temperatures. This is because teeth whitening opens the enamel’s pores temporarily, allowing the whitening gel to get deeper into the tooth and break up stains. Therefore, the dentin layer underneath can become more exposed and sensitive.
However, this sensitivity is typically temporary and mild. You can expect it to subside within a few days. To minimize sensitivity, avoid cold or hot foods and drinks, get a fluoride treatment, and use a desensitizing toothpaste to help strengthen your enamel. In severe cases, the dentist may prescribe a stronger desensitizing treatment.
Are There Any Other Considerations?
Before starting any teeth whitening treatment, you should always consult with our dentists at the Sacramento River Dental Group office in Sacramento, CA. Besides sensitivity, there are several other considerations you should keep in mind:
- Existing Dental Work
Suppose you have existing dental work, such as crowns or fillings. In that case, they won’t whiten along with your natural teeth, which may result in discoloration or uneven coloring. Your dentist may recommend updating or replacing the dental work to match the freshly whitened teeth.
- Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should generally avoid teeth whitening. While no conclusive evidence exists showing that teeth whitening can be harmful during either pregnancy or breastfeeding, it is better to err on the side of caution and wait until you have given birth or stopped breastfeeding.
Medications such as antibiotics can lead to tooth discoloration. In such cases, teeth whitening will likely not be effective. You should always discuss any medications that you’re taking with your dentist prior to starting an in-office whitening treatment.
Get Your Professional Teeth Whitening Done at Sacramento River Dental Group
Having sensitive teeth doesn’t mean that you must give up on the idea of a whiter, brighter smile. You can safely whiten your teeth with the right products and precautions without experiencing pain or discomfort. Consult with your dentist first to determine the most appropriate action based on your specific needs and ensure an effective and safe whitening product or treatment.
If you prefer professional, in-office teeth whitening for sensitive teeth, consider booking an appointment at the Sacramento River Dental Group office in Sacramento, CA. Our teeth whitening starts with a consultation to ensure the treatment produces the best results. We also offer after-care instructions to ensure your brighter smile lasts longer.