A whiter smile almost seems like a promise too good to be true – especially with the ease of modern teeth whitening products.

Though a whitening product from a reputable company will whiten your teeth, for some people it can also bring about a side effect: tooth sensitivity.

The good news is that for most people who experience tooth whitening-related sensitivity, it is only temporary. After a few days, tooth sensitivity usually reverts to normal for most people.

But, that doesn’t mean you just have to grin and bear it. In this post will explore why your teeth get sensitive after whitening and what you can do about it.

Big smile

Why do my teeth get more sensitive after tooth whitening?

There are a variety of ways a teeth whitening procedure can increase the sensitivity of your teeth. 

These include:

  • The chemicals in the whitening gel may temporarily make your tooth enamel more permeable, allowing hot and cold foods to come into contact with the soft dentin layer, which contains the nerves.
  • Trays in teeth whitening kits may exert a lateral force on your teeth making them temporarily sensitive.
  • If the bleaching gels in the kit come into contact with your gums, it can cause irritation and sensitivity.

Alleviating Tooth Sensitivity after Teeth Whitening

If you’re dealing with tooth sensitivity from whitening, there are steps you can take to mitigate any pain.

  • Use toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth: Using toothpaste specifically formulated for sensitive teeth can help ease your pain.
  • Use a soft toothbrush: Brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush is always a good idea because is gentler on the enamel, which allows minerals to rebuild within the enamel.
  • Brush and rinse with fluoride: Fluoride is essential for dental health. Using fluoride-based mouthwash and toothpaste can help restore minerals to the teeth, which can reduce sensitivity by closing dentinal tubules.
  • Avoid certain foods and drinks: Foods and drinks that are acidic, sweet, or sour can worsen tooth sensitivity, so avoid them until your teeth are better.
  • Avoid hot or cold food and drinks: Consuming room-temperature food and drinks helps prevent dental pain caused by tooth sensitivity.

If you’re worried about the effect tooth whitening will have on your teeth, call your dentist and talk about ways we can help you avoid or mitigate teeth sensitivity.