Teeth Whitening, Part IV | Side Effects and How to Alleviate

By In Dental Treatment March 24, 2018

After whitening, you may notice that your teeth are sensitive while enjoying ice cream or a nice cold glass of water... If you experienced sensitivity from those activities before, then after whitening your teeth will probably feel worse. That is why people who desire the aesthetic benefits of teeth whitening are reluctant to try treatment!

But, good news is that: whitening sensitivity is transient usually go away in a week or so; or you will return to the state of sensitivity (baseline sensitivity) you had prior to the whitening process.

As we discussed before: Methods to whiten your teeth can erode your enamel. And without enamel protecting your dentin (the middle layer of your tooth structure) - air and liquids can irritate your nerves and trigger your brain to feel pain.

Any lingering discomfort can be controlled with:

1. Using desensitizing toothpaste (such as Sensodyne)

There are two mechanisms that desensitizing toothpastes use to desensitize:

  1. Potassium nitrate - it numbs the nerves in our teeth, thus prevents the nerves from signaling the brain to feel pain.

  2. Strontium chloride - blocks the tubules in our dentin so that nothing is able to irritate the tooth’s nerves.

2. Using a fluoridated mouthwash daily (such as ACT)

As mentioned above, fluoridated mouth rinses are also helpful because the fluoride ions strengthen your enamel by making it more resistant to acidic substances. Because of that, your teeth become more resistant to decay. It helps protect your teeth against cavities!

3. Avoiding cold, hot, and highly acidic foods/drinks for a few days after treatment

Carbonated beverages, citrus fruits, wine, yogurt/sour cream, coffee, sports drinks, fermented/pickled products, etc. are acidic.If you must drink acidic liquids (i.e. your daily coffee/espresso) use straws to avoid contact with teeth.

 Just because the symptoms go away doesn’t mean the problem is gone...

 What is the problem? ENAMEL EROSION.

As a dental professional, it is our goal to make sure your teeth are strong and healthy. We help assess if you are eroding your enamel -- let us help you save your enamel! Hope this blog was helpful to help you take steps to relieve and reduce the discomfort that it causes. No one should have to live with tooth sensitivities! 

Call 707-552-4900 or request an appointment online.