Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic procedure, but it can cause sensitivity in your teeth that makes it hard to eat certain foods, drink certain liquids, or even brush your teeth. If you are in pain after the whitening process is complete, there are some things you can do to ease the pain and prevent it from getting worse.
Why Does It Hurt?
Tooth-whitening products use the chemical compound hydrogen peroxide to get rid of surface stains and deeper stains. This temporarily makes the enamel on your teeth more porous, making the nerves beneath them more exposed. So while it might hurt, you don't need to worry that your teeth have been damaged.
Use a Different Product
If you are going for multiple treatments, you should let your dentist know what kind of pain you are in and how long it lasts before he proceeds with another treatment. He may be able to use something else with a lower concentration of peroxide. Likewise, if you are performing the treatments yourself at home, you can look for a product with a lower concentration. This may cause you to have to spread out more treatments over time, but it will be easier on your teeth.
Brush Before Whitening
Most sensitivity will fade in the first 24 hours or so after the procedure. Brushing your teeth right after whitening can make the sensitivity worse, however, since you are scrubbing at already porous dentin. Brush and floss right before the procedure rather than waiting until after. You don't have to wait a full day before brushing your teeth again, but waiting at least a few hours will help the sensitivity decrease before you brush.
When you do eventually brush your teeth, use a soft brush and brush gently.
Use Sensitivity-Reducing Products
You can also help gradually make your teeth more resistant to sensitivity by using special toothpaste. This effect isn't instant, but it can help lessen the pain over time. In addition, it can also help lessen the pain the next time you go in for a whitening procedure.
If you're at the dentist, he can offer you a desensitizing agent before or after the process, and if you're doing it on your own at home, there are also over-the-counter agents to accomplish the same thing. These often come in the form of gels to spread on your teeth.
Finally, you can also look for whitening products that have desensitizing agents already in them.
Use Whitening Products Less Frequently
If you're in a hurry to whiten your teeth, you may be making your teeth sensitive by using treatments too often. If you're following the product's or your dentist's directions and your teeth still feel sensitive, wait a little longer in between in each treatment.
For more tips, talk with your dentist today.