How to Treat Sensitive Teeth After Whitening
What is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is very popular in the UK. It involves bleaching teeth to lighten the existing colour by several shades.1
Types of Teeth Whitening
Due to the popularity of the treatment, there’s a wide variety of teeth whitening methods available to the public. We’ve highlighted a few options below.
Laser Teeth Whitening
Laser teeth whitening uses a whitening gel that contains stronger hydrogen peroxide than over-the-counter products; therefore, it can only be offered by professional dentists. Although costly, the treatment is highly effective and carried out safely.1
This type of teeth whitening uses LEDs or lasers to speed up the bleaching effect of a concentrated gel applied to the teeth. A rubber seal is applied to protect the gums before the teeth are covered with a teeth-bleaching gel. A light is then shone onto the teeth, activating the chemicals in the gel and speeding up the process. After a single one-hour treatment, teeth can be up to 8 shades brighter. It’s considered one of the best teeth whitening treatments in the UK because of the instant results.1
Professional Bleaching Trays
This tooth whitening method is also offered by dentists and involves taking impressions of your teeth, which are used to make custom mouth trays. The professional teeth whitening gel provided is also usually stronger than that available over the counter and the process can be undertaken at home.1
Teeth Whitening Toothpaste
When used for twice daily brushing, teeth whitening toothpaste, such as Sensodyne Rapid Relief Whitening, is by far the cheapest option on the market for an at-home whitening product. Its whitening ingredient helps restore teeth to natural whiteness and helps prevent and remove staining.1 That said, if you are looking for a more guaranteed solution, you should look into professional whitening.
Teeth Whitening Strips
Teeth whitening strips can produce results in as little as 7 days. This at-home method involves placing teeth whitening strips directly onto the teeth, eliminating the use of gels and trays. The strips are applied for roughly 30 minutes and are very simple to use. The downside is that they are not as effective on back teeth, so this isn’t the best option if you're looking to whiten all of your teeth.1
Teeth Whitening Pens
Teeth whitening pens contain bleaching gel that is applied directly to teeth via a built-in brush. They can be carried in a bag or pocket and used at any time. 2 to 4 applications per day taking between 10 to 30 minutes are usually needed. Treatment can take up to 2 weeks and may get teeth a few shades lighter.1
Side Effects of Teeth Whitening
Regardless of which whitening treatment you choose, your teeth and gums will be at risk of sensitivity due to the chemicals used in teeth whitening products, particularly if you already have sensitive teeth.2 There’s also a risk of your teeth becoming sensitive to cold, and developing gum discomfort, a sore throat, or white patches on the gum line.3
How to Treat Sensitive Teeth
If you’ve tried any of the above whitening treatments, you may have wondered how to care for sensitive teeth. Having sensitive teeth can have a major negative impact on your life, and simple daily tasks such as eating and drinking can cause sharp pain. If you’re experiencing sensitive teeth, there are a few things you can try to soothe sensitive teeth including:4
- Fluoride: Your dentist may apply fluoride gels, rinses or varnishes to sensitive teeth. This can happen at regular appointments one or two weeks apart, to build up some protection.
- Bonding: If you have exposed, sensitive root surfaces, your dentist can apply a bonding resin where teeth and gum meet to cover exposed dentine.
- Root Canal: In very serious cases, a root canal may be needed. This treatment, which involves treating the tooth’s soft core, is considered the most successful technique for eliminating teeth sensitivity.
- Dentaly. How to Whiten Teeth: The Best Teeth Whitening Products in the UK. https://www.dentaly.org/en/teeth-whitening/. Accessed 7th March 2023.
- NHS. Teeth Whitening. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/teeth-whitening/. Accessed 7th March 2023.
- Dental Health. Tooth Whitening https://www.dentalhealth.org/tooth-whitening. Accessed 7th March 2023.
- Dental Health. Sensitive Teeth. https://www.dentalhealth.org/sensitive-teeth. Accessed 7th March 2023.