Waterford Twp dentist addresses tooth sensitivity after teeth whitening

You look in the mirror and notice your teeth have become stained so you decide to invest in a teeth whitening system. You do your research and choose the product you feel is best suited to you. You followed the directions and, a short time later, find your mouth is burning and your teeth are experiencing "zingers." Nothing prepared you for this. Unfortunately, not all teeth whitening products are equal. How do you stop uncomfortable side effects? How long will pain last?

Learn about tooth whitening from your Waterford Twp dentist

Most over-the-counter teeth whitening systems use a bleaching agent that is administered in either a self-adhesive strip or a standardized tray which fits over the teeth but may be ill-fitting. Dental offices provide custom-fit trays and more highly concentrated bleaching agents. The whitening tray is designed to hold the bleaching agent against porous enamel. A chemical process causes stains to release and lighten with each application. If the bleaching agent seeps onto the gum line, the patient will likely feel a tingling or burning sensation that intensifies with increased exposure to the tissue. Wiping away any excess whitening gel from the gums will help to alleviate irritation. Most pain or irritation recedes within 1-3 days after the last treatment.

The porosity of enamel is what enables discoloration to occur. It also means that certain people are not good candidates for teeth whitening and may experience more sensitivity than most:
  • Children under 16 years old
  • People with an allergy to the bleaching agent
  • People who have sensitive teeth or receding gums
  • People with gum disease
  • People with cavities, softened enamel, and exposed roots
Each of these candidates have the potential for increased sensitivity due to exposure to the bleaching agent used in whitening treatments. When absorbed, the whitening gel can irritate the tooth nerve sending powerful pain signals that some people refer to as "zingers." Under most circumstances, side effects subside over time and can be managed by:
  • Decreasing the length of time the tray is worn
  • Discontinue whitening for several days to allow teeth to recover
  • Use a dentist- or pharmacy-recommended fluoride product before and after each bleaching treatment to boost tooth enamel
  • Brush with a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth
Fortunately, in most circumstances, the pain and sensitivity resulting from whitening your teeth subsides within a few days. To ensure your best whitening experience, consult the professional dental team pat Metropolitan Dental Center. Your best smile is only a phone call away.

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