It’s no secret that teeth whitening is suspected of various rumors and half-truths. To learn more about it, you can press here and inform yourself. Nevertheless, many patients ask doctors whether this procedure brings about heightened teeth sensitivity. Sure, in some cases, that is true. For some people, eating or drinking either hot, cold, or sweet food and drinks can result in pain after whitening their te
But how long does this increased sensitivity last, and should you be worried about it? In short, there’s no definitive answer, and it all depends from person to person. Nevertheless, to better understand teeth sensitivity after whitening, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions and take you through the ins and outs of this process.
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Before we can talk about post-whitening sensitivity, let us first explain teeth whitening. Namely, this is a somewhat effective method of rejuvenating the color of your teeth without removing their surfaces. However, tooth whitening can’t change the color of your teeth — it can only lighten them, bleaching the tone to appear healthier.
The main reason people whiten their teeth is esthetical. Due to age, smoking, and food and drink intake, our teeth lose their pearly whiteness over time. And after a while, they begin to appear rather unhealthy. Thus, some people opt to revert their tone to the shiny one they had when they were younger.
For the process, the dentist applies a shield or gel on the patient’s gums for protection. Afterward, they will begin to add the whitening product to the teeth. That is done by using a special tray that fits like a mouthguard. The tray contains hydrogen or carbamide peroxide, an active ingredient that lightens the color of the enamel—the teeth’ outer layer.
The teeth whitening process takes longer than one dental session. After the first visit, the patient will need to continue the process for 30–60 minutes at home with a special paste. As such, the whole bleaching can take up to four weeks. There are also certain products that you can apply for up to 8 hours a day that bleach your teeth in less than a week.
In most cases, the effects of bleaching your teeth will last up to three years at best. Still, this is a broad assumption, as the duration varies from one patient to another. For instance, if you’re a smoker, the new bleached tone of your teeth will last less than that of people who don’t consume cigarettes. In other words, the duration of the bleaching effect depends on your lifestyle—what you eat, drink, and whether you smoke.
Like with any other intervention, teeth whitening can produce side effects in different people. The obvious one is teeth sensitivity—patients begin to feel pain when consuming hot, cold, or sweet foods and drinks after the treatment.
Other possible side effects of teeth whitening include:
- Discomfort in gums
- A sore throat
- White stains on the gum line
Luckily, all these are temporary, as they eventually disappear.
Let’s be frank here — some patients won’t ever have trouble with teeth sensitivity after their dentist finishes the process. However, someone will, and someone usually does have issues with sensitivity. Nevertheless, it all boils down to the state of the person’s teeth before they come for a dental bleaching session.
In other words, each patient has a different situation in their mouth. Some have great teeth, while others would rather hide theirs from the rest of the world. Moreover, some have more enamel and dentin, while others lack both. Therefore, the question of how sensitive your teeth will be after a whitening treatment varies from one individual to another.
It’s only fair that professional dental offices that care about the well-being of their patients inform them of various risks that certain procedures come with. The same goes for teeth whitening treatment.
However, besides discussing the dangers of bleaching your teeth and making them pearly white, doctors should also evaluate whether you’re fit for such a procedure before engaging in it. To do so, they’ll do the following:
- Ask whether you already have weak teeth;
- Complete a full dental examination;
- Check for the remaining enamel and dentin;
- Agree upon how white you want your teeth to be.
Increasing teeth sensitivity after a bleaching treatment can carry on for several days, weeks, or even months. The exact timing is always different, as it varies, as previously mentioned. Unfortunately, no doctor in the world can tell you exactly how long this period will last. And if they do, well, they will be lying.
Of course, doctors can tentatively suggest the amount of time, depending on your dental history and the state of your teeth, before the in-office bleaching process begins. It can also tell them whether this sensitivity will be higher than usual, which means more pain when eating or drinking hot, cold, and sweet foods and drinks.
Some doctors recommend desensitizing toothpaste to their patients to prevent high teeth sensitivity after a whitening procedure. The basic idea behind this kind of toothpaste is that it’s specially designed and produced to protect the enamel, which is in itself a tooth-protective layer of the dentin beneath it.
If the dentist evaluates that the patient is clear for teeth bleaching but they are still concerned whether the sensitivity will be too much for them to handle, the decision remains entirely up to the patient. After all, going into the office to consult yourself doesn’t mean you have to partake in the process.
It’s normal to feel uncertain about treatment if there’s even the slightest chance of discomfort after it’s done. That is why you should ask yourself whether the potential gain of having pearly white teeth outweighs the uncomfortable post-treatment sensitivity, even if it lasts only a few days. For us, the answer is a defiant yes.