Millions of adults are unhappy with the appearance of their smile. Often, the cause of this dissatisfaction is tooth discoloration. After all, society values a radiant smile as a sign of health and confidence. This has led to an increase in demand for both professional and at-home whitening solutions.
While tooth whitening treatments can improve the appearance of the teeth, they can also have a few side effects including tooth and gum pain and sensitivity.
Teeth whitening treatments whether at-home or professional, use bleaching agents to lift stains from the enamel. While typically safe, these treatments can result in increased sensitivity and pain for several reasons.
One of the primary causes of tooth pain after whitening is increased tooth sensitivity.
Whitening agents are typically peroxide-based and penetrate the enamel to break down stains. This creates microscopic pores in the teeth, exposing the nerve endings, causing increased sensitivity to hot/cold.
Another common cause of pain following tooth whitening is gum irritation and sensitivity.
When whitening agents are applied improperly, it can lead to swollen, sensitive, and bleeding gums. This contributes to discomfort following the procedure. Therefore, it is crucial to follow the instructions provided with at-home kits or to work with a qualified dental professional that understands how to apply these products.
In some cases, pain is caused by overuse of whitening products.
Sometimes, patients desire to expedite the whitening process and will apply the whitening agent more often than recommended. However, this can result in a significant increase in tooth sensitivity and unbearable pain.
While tooth pain and sensitivity following tooth whitening are common side effects, many people are willing to risk it due to the cosmetic benefits. There are several practical ways that you can alleviate pain and sensitivity associated with tooth whitening, including:
Ideally, you should work with a qualified dental professional. If you choose to use an at-home solution, check with your dentist to determine the most suitable option based on your personal oral health and sensitivity.
If you experience increased sensitivity following tooth whitening, a desensitizing toothpaste can help. Regular use of a desensitizing toothpaste can build a protective barrier on your teeth, reducing sensitivity over time.
Fluoride mouthwash is known to strengthen tooth enamel, reduce sensitivity, and promote overall oral health. Many patients find it beneficial to incorporate fluoride mouthwash into their oral care routine- especially following tooth whitening.
In addition to the above solutions, there are a few at-home remedies to alleviate unbearable pain after tooth whitening.
A cold compress can provide immediate, temporary relief from pain and discomfort. Apply the compress to the affected areas to reduce inflammation and soothe irritation.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can provide short-term relief from pain and discomfort. However, it's essential to follow the recommended dosage and consult with a healthcare professional if the pain persists.
A warm saltwater rinse can help soothe irritated gums and promote healing. Gargling with a saltwater solution several times a day can provide relief and facilitate the recovery process.
Certain foods and beverages, especially those extreme in temperature or acidity, can exacerbate tooth sensitivity. Avoiding these triggers during the recovery period can help prevent additional discomfort.
The dental professionals at Matthew Dental Group in Smithtown offer a variety of dental services including KOR teeth whitening. The KOR whitening system uses a combination of both in-office and at-home treatments. You will undergo at-home treatments for up to 8 weeks, depending on the severity of your stains, before undergoing in-office treatment.
Most patients agree that the results of this treatment are more dramatic and longer lasting than other options. Plus, less than 10% of our patients report tooth pain and sensitivity following treatment because the tubules in your teeth are closed off to prevent the peroxide from permeating.
If you are concerned about tooth discoloration, schedule your consultation with Matthew Dental Group today. Dr. Bilu and Julie Matthew will work with you to create a customized treatment plan to help you achieve a perfect smile.