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Teeth Whitening for Sensitive Teeth: Kits, Strips, and More

Contributors:  Natalie Asmussen & Amanda Dexter

Does teeth whitening for sensitive teeth exist? And if so, what are your best options?

This article will discuss everything you need to know about whitening sensitive teeth including the following topics and questions:

  • Can you whiten sensitive teeth?
  • How to whiten sensitive teeth
  • Best teeth whitening kit for sensitive teeth
  • What are the best whitening strips for sensitive teeth?

If you want to whiten teeth and avoid sensitivity it's important to know which ingredients cause sensitivity and which prevent it. But first, let's start with the causes of sensitive teeth, and how whitening your teeth may trigger pain and discomfort.

Teeth whitening and sensitive teeth

teeth whitening for sensitive teeth
Are there any whitening treatments for sensitive teeth?

If you're reading this article, it's likely that you suffer from tooth sensitivity, especially during or after whitening cosmetic procedures. Teeth sensitivity can be an ache during a whitening procedure, or sharp pain when you consume hot or cold food and drinks.

Some of the potential causes of sensitivity include the following:

  • Cavities
  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Gum disease
  • Damaged or thinning enamel

However, for those with generally healthy teeth, sensitive teeth when whitening can be from bleaching sensitivity and dentin sensitivity.

Sensitive teeth after whitening with bleach

If your teeth are usually sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks because of thinning enamel, then you're more likely to experience heightened sensitivity after a bleaching treatment.

During dental bleaching procedures, peroxide, in the form of gels or solutions, comes into contact with the teeth. These peroxide solutions penetrate the tooth structure and break down and remove stains within your dentin. This can cause many patients to experience bleaching sensitivity.

In fact, the reasons why patients experience bleaching sensitivity are still unclear. However, it is believed that the deep penetration of oxidative free radicals generated from peroxide towards the teeth pulp could produce sensitivity. Additionally, the usage of some light sources contributes to increasing the temperature in pulp, causing more discomfort after the procedure. 

Fortunately, it's only temporary and should go away within a couple of days.

Dentin sensitivity after whitening

Dentin sensitivity is a permanent type of sensitivity, unlike the type you can get from bleaching which is temporary. It can happen when stimuli come into contact with areas of your tooth that have exposed dentin.

When your enamel is thin or dentin is exposed, the peroxide in the bleaching solution can penetrate your dentin, causing pain, sensitivity, or discomfort.

Can I get my teeth whitened if I have sensitive teeth?

Even if you experience sensitivity, don't worry, teeth whitening is still an option for you. Just make sure to look for solutions that are specifically targeted towards people with tooth sensitivity.

Thankfully, there are plenty of options available such as:

We'll go over all of these, but first, let's look at the main whitening ingredients.

Teeth whitening ingredients

best teeth whitener for sensitive teeth
What are the ingredients that cause discomfort?

There are myriad ingredients used for lightening tooth colour, some more effective than others.

The ingredients that are perhaps the most effective may cause the most sensitivity. But, some of these systems provide a solution by including ingredients that help prevent or decrease sensitivity.

Let's take a look at the ingredients that can cause sensitivity and the ingredients that can relieve it.

Teeth whitening ingredients that trigger teeth sensitivity

Peroxides are one of the most effective and commonly used teeth whitening ingredients. But, they are suspected to be the primary culprit when it comes to teeth whitening sensitivity. Usually, it's in the form of hydrogen peroxide, although carbamide peroxide is sometimes used as well.

Peroxide passes through the tooth and actually changes the colour. Hydrogen peroxide is a weak acid that has oxidizing properties, allowing it to take apart complex stain molecules. A side effect of using it to whiten teeth is that it releases free radicals while it works which can cause damage to your enamel and gum tissue.

Usually, the pain, sensitivity, or discomfort experienced during or after a whitening procedure is only temporary. However, in cases where the whitening agent isn't applied correctly or for too long, it can damage the enamel permanently.

Teeth whitening for sensitive teeth in the UK

Some ingredients used in whitening toothpaste and whitening systems are meant to prevent or decrease tooth sensitivity. Fluoride is one of the ingredients that dentists use to strengthen enamel and reduce pain. They apply it straight to your teeth for a short amount of time to treat your teeth.

Sensodyne, one of the most popular brands of toothpaste for sensitivity includes the ingredient potassium nitrate to soothe the nerves inside your teeth and stannous fluoride to strengthen enamel.

The best whitening toothpaste for sensitive teeth is one that not only whitens your teeth but also remineralises and desensitises them at the same time.

Hismile's PAP+ Whitening Powder has the ability to make any toothpaste into a whitening toothpaste. It uses their PAP+ formula which helps to desensitise and remineralise teeth enamel as it whitens.

There are also products and professional in-office teeth whitening services that are designed specifically for those who have teeth whitening sensitivity. These treatments usually come with some sort of desensitising gel or serum and are applied prior to a bleaching procedure. Desensitising substances based on phosphate such as (DCPA) and (TTCP) have reported successful results in preventing sensitivity.

Have a look at the video below where Dr Chhaya Chauhan explains teeth sensitivity when whitening your teeth and tips for managing it.

Best teeth whitening for sensitive teeth

When it comes to whitening sensitive teeth, there are plenty of options, but not all of them are created equal. Let's have a look at some of the most popular (and why) to help you decide which is best for you. The table below summarizes some of the best whitening products for sensitive teeth.

Best Teeth Whitening Products for Sensitive Teeth

Smile Avenue Whitening Kit

  • Treatment time: 16 minutes

  • Main whitening ingredient: phthalimidoperoxycaproic acid (PAP)

  • Contains remineralizing hydroxyapatite

Hismile Whitening Kit 

  • Treatment time: 10 minutes

  • Main whitening ingredient: phthalimidoperoxycaproic Acid (PAP)

  •  Contains remineralizing nano-hydroxyapatite and desensitising potassium citrate


Hismile PAP+ Whitening Strips

  • Treatment time: 30 minutes

  • Contains 14 treatments (28 strips total) 

  • Main whitening ingredient: phthalimidoperoxycaproic acid (PAP)

  • Contains remineralizing nano-hydroxyapatite and desensitising potassium citrate

Now let's have a more detailed look into these options!

Hismile Teeth Whitening Kit

This is one of the best whitening kits for sensitive teeth because it doesn't contain hydrogen peroxide. Why is that important? Hydrogen peroxide is used in most whitening procedures but it can trigger teeth sensitivity.

whiten sensitive teeth naturally
Hismile whitens without hydrogen peroxide

The problem is that many non-peroxide products just aren't as effective.

Hismile on the other hand has developed a special PAP+ formula that is effective at whitening teeth without peroxides. It also contains ingredients that remineralise your enamel and help with pre-existing sensitivity. Hismile's PAP+ formula includes the following ingredients:

  • Phthalimidoperoxycaproic acid (PAP) – Whitens teeth by altering molecules and oxidising stains without releasing free radicals.
  • Nano-hydroxyapatite – A nano-synthetic material that remineralises your enamel by restoring damaged sections of your enamel by replacing lost minerals.
  • Potassium Citrate – Addresses any pre-existing teeth sensitivity you have prior to whitening your teeth.

The full list of ingredients for Hismiles PAP+ whitening formula includes the following:

Glycerin, Water/Aqua, Phthalimidoperoxycaproic acid, Potassium Citrate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Hydroxyapatite, PVP, Potassium Hydroxide, Sodium Saccharin, Aroma/Peppermint Oil, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Piroctane Olamin

PAP has been proven to whiten teeth without damaging enamel or causing sensitivity while providing the same level of whitening as peroxide treatments. And, due to the added benefits from nano-hydroxyapatite and potassium citrate, your teeth should feel stronger than they did prior to using this kit!

Read our full Hismile review to learn more about their whitening kits, and check out some of their customer reviews.

sensitive teeth whitening
Smile Avenue's Teeth Whitening Kit includes remineralising hydroxyapatite for sensitive teeth

Smile Avenue Teeth Whitening Kit

Another great non-peroxide teeth whitening kit to use with sensitive teeth is Smile Avenue's Whitening Kit, which uses PAP as its main whitening ingredient. Their whitening formula also includes the ingredient hydroxyapatite that helps to remineralise your teeth enamel which goes a long way in reducing any existing tooth sensitivity that you may have.

The full list of ingredients for Smile Avenue's whitening gel includes the following:

Sorbitol, Aqua, Phthalimidoperoxycaproic Acid (PAP), Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Potassium Nitrate, PEG-8, Hydroxyapatite, Cellulose Gum, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Xanthan Gum, Saccharin Sodium, Menthol, Methylparaben, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) leaf Extract, Punica Granatum Seed Oil, Sodium Bicarbonate, Propylparaben

Smile Avenue's whitening formula comes in the form of whitening pens so that you can paint the whitening gel onto your teeth before using the mouthpiece and a blue LED light to whiten your teeth. Although PAP does not cause any damage to your gum tissue it is still better to be able to control where the whitening gel goes, and ensure you cover all of your teeth.

Like Hismile's whitening kit, your teeth should feel stronger after using this whitening formula due to the remineralising properties of the hydroxyapatite.


If you have sensitive teeth but really want to whiten them, there are ways to do so without triggering any sensitivity. Whitening treatments specifically designed for sensitive teeth mean that you can get a brighter smile without any pain or discomfort.

There are plenty of options you can try that are made specifically to give people with tooth sensitivity a brighter smile. In this article, we reviewed three options that we think are some of the best whitening for sensitive teeth options. You may want to try them out to see if they work for you.

Both Hismile and Smile Avenue have products available that enable you to whiten your teeth without sensitivity while remineralising your teeth.

Hismile has a range of products all using its PAP+ formula, so you can choose which one works best for you. Not everyone has time to use a whitening kit, but you have the option of strips or whitening powder to use with your regular toothpaste!

You should always remember, however, that a healthy smile comes in many shades; your teeth don't need to be Hollywood white to be in tip-top condition. As long as you brush twice a day, floss at least once a day, and visit your dentist at least once a year, you should have a smile to be proud of.


Why are my teeth sensitive to whitening?

Your teeth may be sensitive because of the bleaching agent, peroxide, that is used in most whitening systems. If this is a problem for you, try a peroxide-free whitening system.

Both Hismile and Smile Avenue have PAP as the main ingredient in their whitening gels which shouldn't cause sensitivity, and actually strengthens and desensitises as you use it.

How long does teeth sensitivity last after whitening?

Sensitivity from teeth whitening usually only lasts up to 48 hours after a whitening procedure. To relieve symptoms, you should use toothpaste or serum that helps reduce sensitivity. Your dentist can recur to a preventive method or prescribe a toothpaste or medication to reduce post-bleaching discomfort.

Can I get my teeth whitened if I have sensitive teeth?

Yes, it's possible, but you should look for products marketed specifically for tooth sensitivity. Some use gentle ingredients, and others come with desensitising serum.

What is the best teeth whitening product for sensitivity?

Hismile and Smile Avenue both make effective whitening products for teeth with sensitivity. They both deliver noticeable results without peroxide and remineralise your teeth while whitening.

Teeth Whitening for Sensitive Teeth: Kits, Strips, and More
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Natalie used to work as a Community Health Worker and Health Insurance Navigator. She continues to follow her passion for connecting people with the healthcare they need by writing informative content about dentistry and medicine.
Amanda combines her medical background with her love for writing to bring you informed and accurate content at
Sources How Does Peroxide Whiten Teeth? Consulted 24th August 2020. PubMed: Dentin hypersensitivity after teeth bleaching with in-office systems. Randomized clinical trial. Consulted 24th August 2020. PubMed: Pretty painful: Why does tooth bleaching hurt? Consulted 24th August 2020.