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Do You Have Sensitive Teeth After Whitening? Causes and Treatments

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If you are experiencing sensitive teeth after whitening them, it can be pretty uncomfortable. In fact, any type of tooth sensitivity can be pretty awful to deal with, but what causes it when you whiten your teeth, and should you be worried? 

sensitive teeth after whitening
Your teeth may feel sensitive after whitening treatments, but is it normal?

This article will discuss teeth sensitivity and why whitening treatments can cause it, as well as answer the following questions: 

  • What are sensitive teeth?
  • Why are teeth sensitive after whitening treatments?
  • How can you help sensitive teeth after whitening?
  • Are there any home remedies for sensitive teeth after whitening?
  • Which products are best for treating sensitive teeth? 

Having sensitive teeth is never comfortable, but fortunately, there are a few ways you can help to reduce the pain and discomfort after whitening them. But, before we get into what to do about sensitive teeth after whitening, let’s find out more about sensitive teeth in general. 

What are sensitive teeth?

If you have sensitive teeth the first sign is usually a sharp pain in your teeth when you eat or drink anything that is hot or cold. Sometimes it can be a dull ache that lasts slightly longer, and sometimes, depending on the cause, it can last for a few weeks or months. 

If your teeth sensitivity is causing you intense pain and discomfort or lasts for weeks on end then it’s important you consult your dentist. You may have an underlying issue that needs professional dental treatment. Some of the causes of teeth sensitivity include: 

  • Worn down, thinning or damaged tooth enamel 
  • Gum disease or erosion 
  • Tooth decay and cavities 
  • A cracked or chipped tooth 
  • Exposed tooth roots 
  • Ill fitting or damaged fillings 
  • After a filling or other dental work 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Teeth whitening treatments 

While you should always check with a dentist to make sure first, some of these causes can be managed at home. 

In the case of sensitivity after teeth whitening, you have 2 main options. You can choose whitening treatments designed for sensitive teeth or you can use products to help desensitise and remineralise your teeth after whitening them. 

But first, let's discuss the reasons why your teeth might feel sensitive after whitening them. 

pain after teeth whitening
Peroxide-based whitening treatments may leave your teeth feeling sensitive

Why are teeth sensitive after whitening treatments? 

The main cause of tooth sensitivity after whitening is the use of peroxide-based whitening products. Both hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are effective ingredients in whitening products. 

However, they can cause sensitive teeth because when used in high doses they can be damaging to your enamel and gum tissue. And, even when used carefully in safe dosages, they can make your enamel temporarily more permeable resulting in the underlying dentin and nerves being exposed.

Another reason your teeth may feel sensitive after bleaching with peroxides is the way they work. Peroxides release free radicals when they oxidise stains, which results in damage to the tissue affected which can leave your teeth sensitive after the whitening treatment. 

You shouldn't experience any pain after teeth whitening, so it's important you consult your dentist if you do. Damage to your enamel can be permanent, so it is important to be careful when whitening with peroxides, and take steps to care for your teeth before and afterwards. 

What can you do to reduce sensitivity before whitening treatments?

If you want to whiten your teeth using treatments that may result in teeth sensitivity, there are steps you can take to minimise sensitivity before you whiten. 

Use whitening treatments designed for sensitive teeth: Although peroxide whitening treatments are popular and effective, they are more prone to causing sensitivity. Using a non-peroxide whitening treatment can help reduce teeth sensitivity after whitening, or try a peroxide-based product designed especially for sensitive teeth. 

Brush your teeth with sensitive toothpaste or remineralising toothpaste: Using sensitive toothpaste can help to address pre-existing sensitivity as well as prepare your teeth before whitening. Choosing a remineralising toothpaste will not only help desensitise your teeth but will also strengthen your enamel before you use a whitening treatment. You should also wait to brush your teeth after whitening strips and other whitening treatments.

Apply a desensitising gel: Using a desensitising gel directly before your treatment can help to reduce teeth sensitivity from whitening. Just apply it for the recommended amount of time and then rinse off afterwards.  

Take over-the-counter pain relief: Taking pain relief before whitening will not help strengthen your enamel but it will take the edge off temporarily after the whitening treatment. It is still advisable to use a product to help desensitise and remineralise your teeth after whitening. 

In the following video, Kimberly, a dental hygienist, explains how they reduce teeth sensitivity in the dental clinic when you get your teeth whitened professionally.

How to help sensitive teeth after whitening   

As mentioned above, there is the option of using a whitening treatment specifically designed for sensitive teeth. Both Hismile and Smile Avenue have PAP whitening products that are not only clinically proven to be as effective as peroxide-based whitening treatments, but also include ingredients to remineralise enamel and address any preexisting sensitivity. 

Smile Avenue’s Whitening Kit includes PAP as the active whitening ingredient and hydroxyapatite which remineralises and strengthens your enamel during the whitening process. You can learn more about it by reading our full review here

Hismile is another company that utilises PAP as its main whitening ingredient. Their PAP+ formula includes nano-hydroxyapatite, a nano-synthetic version that is made from smaller particles that cover a greater surface area of your teeth to strengthen and remineralise them. 

Hismile has a range of PAP+ whitening products including their whitening kit, strips, toothpaste and powder. You can check out our full review of their whitening kit to learn more. This article will concentrate more on their NHpro Enamel Care serum that you can use at home to help treat sensitive teeth after whitening. And another kit you might want to try is the SmileTime teeth whitening kit which also uses PAP.

how to get rid of sensitive teeth after whitening
Hismile NHPro Enamel Care

Hismile NHPro Enamel Care 

Hismile's enamel care serum is specifically designed for targeted enamel remineralisation and desensitisation. It contains a concentrated dose of nano-hydroxyapatite which is clinically proven to reduce teeth sensitivity and remineralise teeth enamel. 

It works by binding to your dentin apatite and creates a new apatite layer which helps to remineralise your enamel and protect the surface of your teeth. 

Hismile's NHpro Enamel Care also contains Theobromine and xylitol. Theobromine is a natural substitute for fluoride that helps with depositing minerals into damaged areas of enamel. Xylitol helps with the remineralisation process as well as reducing dental caries and plaque formation.

Using this product after teeth whitening will help to strengthen your teeth and desensitise them. All you need to do is use it once daily at the end of your nightly oral hygiene routine.

Conclusion

Sensitive teeth after whitening treatments are common with peroxide-based products. That is because your teeth are more porous afterwards, which exposes the soft dentin and nerves that are underneath your enamel. Some peroxide-based whitening products can also damage your enamel and gum tissue if used incorrectly, or at too high doses.    

You can preempt tooth sensitivity after whitening if you use sensitive toothpaste or gel before you whiten your teeth. You can also use whitening treatments designed specifically for sensitive teeth such as the Smile Avenue Teeth Whitening Kit, or Hismile’s Teeth Whitening Kit.

After you have whitened your teeth, you can use products to desensitise and strengthen your enamel. Hismile’s NHPro Enamel Care serum is perfect for this. It contains a concentrated dose of nano-hydroxyapatite which helps to remineralise and desensitise teeth. 

You can use it directly after whitening, as well as add it to your nightly oral hygiene routine. This will not only help you get back to enjoying your favourite things in life but enable you to have white teeth without the sensitivity that can come with whitening treatments.

Do You Have Sensitive Teeth After Whitening? Causes and Treatments
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Amanda combines her medical background with her love for writing to bring you informed and accurate content at Dentaly.org.