Sensitive teeth are one of the most unpleasant experiences a patient can have. Often sensitive teeth occur due to several reasons such as receding gums, gingivitis, tooth fracture, or even cracked tooth. Such cases make teeth whitening a little challenging.
Sensitive teeth usually react variably to temperature changes such as toot hot or too cold because there is the presence of a thin enamel layer. Teeth whitening products contain bleaching agents that are slightly acidic and contribute to tooth sensitivity.
It is essential to consult your dentist before undergoing a teeth whitening procedure for sensitive teeth. Moreover, look for whitening products that are less acidic and mild, especially for sensitive teeth. Today’s article will highlight the best ways to whiten sensitive teeth. Furthermore, we will discuss the maintenance of oral hygiene after teeth whitening.
What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening I a cosmetic dental procedure that primarily focuses on removing the stains from the tooth surface. Moreover, it helps to lighten the color of your teeth and provide a whiter and brighter smile.
Teeth whitening can typically be achieved by altering the tooth’s intrinsic color or reducing the extrinsic discolorations on the tooth surface. it is performed by using a chemical agent commonly hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which reacts with the inorganic salts of tooth enamel and lightens the color of the tooth. (1)
Teeth whitening can be performed professionally in the dental office or at home by using the teeth whitening home kits. The difference between the two procedures lies between –
- Time is taken to get the result
- The concentration of the bleaching agent in the product
Is teeth whitening possible for sensitive teeth?
Teeth whitening can be performed for sensitive teeth. However, in such cases, whitening products with a lower concentration of bleaching agent such as carbamide peroxide are used. Moreover, the time duration for which the bleaching gel is applied on the tooth surface is reduced to 5-10 minutes to avoid unnecessary pain or discomfort. (2)
There is also a possibility that after teeth whitening procedure, patients may experience mild and temporary discomfort. However, sometimes the sensitivity may be so severe that it will interfere with the patient’s everyday activities. (3)
How can you whiten sensitive teeth at home?
There are several whitening products available for home use. Some of them include whitening gel, pen, strips, and paint. However, whitening strips have seen to show better results and less risk of post-treatment sensitivity, especially in sensitive teeth.
Usually, the whitening strips specially made for sensitive teeth must be applied for five minutes, once per day, unlike the traditional whitening strips used for 30 minutes per day. Whitening strips typically contain the same bleaching agent hydrogen peroxide that is present in professional whitening gels. However, the peroxide concentration in the whitening strip is adjusted to prevent the exaggeration of tooth sensitivity.
Results of whitening strips can be noticeable within two to three weeks of regular application.
What are the other best ways of sensitive whitening teeth?
Following are some of the best ways you can whiten sensitive teeth –
Professional teeth whitening
One of the best but expensive options of teeth whitening is a professional technique. In this technique, the dentist applies a bleaching gel for at least 15-30 minutes to whiten the teeth. The number of applications depends on the tooth’s health and the type of shade desired by the patient. (4)
In less than an hour, the treatment gets completed, and the patient can walk out with a whiter smile. For sensitive teeth, the dentist may also take precautions by applying a desensitizing gel on the tooth surface post-treatment.
Professional teeth whitening treatments typically cost from $500 and above per session.
Resin or Porcelain Veneers
If traditional teeth whitening is not a viable option for you due to sensitive teeth, the next best approach can be resin or porcelain veneers. These cosmetic procedures are performed by minimal tooth preparation and placement of thin shells of porcelain on the tooth surface.
Veneers are tooth-colored material that is bonded on the tooth surface and lasts for a long time. they are also one of the most popular teeth whitening options to cover severe tooth discolorations, cracks, and stains. (5)
Resin and porcelain veneers are much more expensive than professional tooth whitening. However, they provide long-lasting results. On average, veneers may cost between $925 and $2500 per tooth.
Maintenance of good oral hygiene after teeth whitening
It is essential to take care of your oral hygiene after teeth whitening. Some of the ways you can keep a check on your oral health are –
- Regular tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste to allow enamel remineralization and strengthen the teeth.
- Floss your teeth every day once after brushing teeth.
- Avoid food that can stain your teeth, such as coffee, tea, and wine. Berries and food with artificial food color should also be avoided.
- Use a straw for drinking juices that might stain the teeth.
- Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco.
Take away message
Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatment which enhances the color of the teeth and provides a whiter smile. However, people with sensitive teeth may feel skeptical about getting their teeth whiten.
Thus, many whitening products have been formulated to provide the same teeth whitening experience to people with sensitive teeth. Such products usually contain a lower concentration of bleaching agents that do not harm the teeth. Moreover, the time of application is reduced for people with sensitive teeth.
Some of the best ways to whiten sensitive teeth include professional whitening procedures, Veneers, and home whitening kits for sensitive teeth. It is best to consult your dentist and get suggestions for the best whitening products.