Does Teeth Whitening Cause Tooth Sensitivity?

Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures, and for a good reason. You can customize your shade of white and dramatically improve the appearance of your smile in about an hour at your dentist’s office. No home whitening kits, messy trays, or gel strips are needed—just one visit and you have bright white teeth.

Although teeth whitening is considered safe and effective, like any procedure, it can cause side effects in some individuals [1]. Does teeth whitening cause tooth sensitivity? Here’s what you need to know.

Teeth Whitening Can Cause Temporary Sensitivity

Temporary tooth sensitivity is one of the most common side effects in patients who get their teeth whitened, and some sensitivity is to be expected with a teeth whitening procedure [2].

While the length of time and the severity of the sensitivity will vary from person to person, mild sensitivity is generally expected for a few days or weeks after the procedure. Your dentist will help you manage and treat any sensitivity you may have post-whitening.

The Risk May Increase With At-Home Treatments or Underlying Conditions

If you have tried to whiten your teeth at home with over-the-counter (OTC) products, you may increase your risk for tooth sensitivity after whitening [3].

Although these OTC treatments have a lower concentration of the whitening agent to reduce sensitivity, these products were not made for your specific smile. As such, getting the whitening agent on the gum tissue can increase sensitivity, especially with trays or strips that are too large.

In addition, people who have existing gum recession are more likely to experience sensitivity post-whitening. Before getting a professional teeth whitening, your dentist will ensure your teeth and gums are healthy enough for the procedure to reduce sensitivity.

Your Dentist Can Help Reduce Post-Whitening Sensitivity

Your dentist can help reduce post-whitening sensitivity with in-office treatments [4]. During the whitening procedure, your dentist will reduce your exposure to the whitening agent by fully protecting your gum tissue. The whitening agent is also not left on the teeth for long, which can help reduce sensitivity.

If you are prone to tooth sensitivity, let your dentist know so they can customize your treatment to help minimize sensitivity after the whitening procedure. Should you continue to experience sensitivity after a few days or weeks, be sure to follow up with your dentist so they can properly diagnose the issue and help reduce your discomfort.

Thinking About Whitening Your Teeth?

If you’re thinking about whitening your teeth, getting a consultation with your experienced dentist can help you know your options for teeth whitening and any precautions both you and your dentist can take to minimize tooth sensitivity after the procedure. You can have whiter teeth without additional discomfort, even if you already experience sensitivity!

Sources:
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4058574/
2. https://www.ada.org/resources/research/science-and-research-institute/oral-health-
topics/whitening
3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12198987/
4. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6753670_Tooth_sensitivity_and_whitening

Summary
Does Teeth Whitening Cause Tooth Sensitivity?
Article Name
Does Teeth Whitening Cause Tooth Sensitivity?
Description
Although teeth whitening is considered safe and effective, like any procedure, it can cause side effects in some individuals. Does teeth whitening cause tooth sensitivity? Here’s what you need to know.
Author
Lansdowne Dental Associates