Our teeth are regularly exposed to foods, beverages, and other agents that can cause discoloration and staining on our enamel. Wine, coffee, tea, cola, and cigarettes are just some of the products that can cause the teeth to yellow. While there are teeth whitening products available for purchase over the counter, the most effective way to improve the color of the teeth is through teeth whitening treatment with a dental professional. Knoxville cosmetic dentist Thomas Zarger offers his patients teeth whitening that can improve the color of the teeth up to several shades after just one treatment. While this is usually a quick and painless procedure, patients may experience some tooth sensitivity after undergoing teeth whitening treatment.
Cause of Teeth Sensitivity after Whitening
For Dr. Zarger’s patients in Knoxville, teeth whitening involves the use of a strong bleaching agent. This allows Dr. Zarger to achieve optimal results for his patients. However, this bleaching agent is also the most likely cause of tooth sensitivity after teeth whitening.
The teeth are covered with small dentin pores that are usually covered by a protective layer of protein. The bleaching agent used during treatment removes this layer of protein in order for teeth whitening to be successful. With the protein layer gone, the dentin pores are exposed. These pores connect to the nerves at the center of the tooth; the nerves can become irritated during teeth whitening, resulting in temporary tooth sensitivity.
Treating Teeth Sensitivity
The sensitivity that is experienced after teeth whitening is temporary condition and should improve on its own. However, there are steps that can be taken to ease the discomfort of tooth sensitivity while the condition is present. In order to avoid discomfort, Dr. Zarger may recommend his patients:
- Avoid food and beverages that are extremely hot or cold
- Avoid food and beverages that are highly acidic
- Use a desensitizing gel or toothpaste
- Use care when brushing teeth to avoid discomfort
- Rinse the mouth with warm water after eating or drinking
- Use pain medication to manage discomfort (it can be helpful to take medication an hour before teeth whitening as well)
Patients who perform at-home teeth whitening products may also experience teeth sensitivity. In general, the bleaching solution is less concentrated in home whitening treatments. However, since a dentist does not perform at-home treatment, patients can misuse these products. If you are using at-home teeth-whitening products, make sure you follow these additional steps for avoiding teeth sensitivity:
- Follow all teeth whitening instructions carefully
- Avoid exposing the gums to the bleaching product
- Do not treat your teeth for longer than recommended
- Do not use teeth whitening products more frequently than recommended
By following these tips, patients can manage discomfort and tooth sensitivity after teeth whitening until the condition subsides on its own.
Schedule a Consultation
Dr. Thomas Zarger can help you achieve a bright, attractive smile through professional teeth whitening. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Zarger to learn more about the procedure. Dr. Zarger and his staff look forward to working with you.