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How To Effectively Manage Teeth Sensitivity After Whitening

Updated: Jan 29

Teeth sensitivity is a notable side effect for whitening. If you have it after finishing treatment it isn't unusual nor is it uncommon. You should expect to at least have some sensitivity!

Nonetheless, we're here to tell you why the sensitivity happens and what you can do about it. There are in fact ways to reduce the sensitivity and alleviate some of that pain you're feeling.

Table of Contents:

How to reduce teeth sensitivity after whitening.

The best way to reduce the teeth sensitivity is actually to start using a sensitive toothpaste at least two weeks before you start the bleaching treatment. The reason is that the sensitivity toothpastes take time to start desensitizing your teeth and that length of time happens to be 2-3 weeks.

That is simply how the potassium nitrate, the desensitizing ingredient in the toothpastes works. If you just started using it after the whitening procedure then you may not see any benefit until days later.

Nonetheless, here are a couple of things that you should do to treat teeth sensitivity after whitening.

  • Keep on using the toothpastes with potassium nitrate in them.

  • Avoid cold beverages and foods.

  • Avoid acidic, spicy, and hot foods.

  • If you have a custom made whitening tray, you can wear it to block air from touching your teeth during the day and at night.

  • You should also brush with a nano hydroxyapatite toothpaste since it has been shown to reduce teeth sensitivity but via a different mechanism. The hydroxyapatite will create an extra layer that covers over your teeth, therefore helping with the sensitivity.

    • You will use both toothpastes at the same time.

  • You can always take some pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help teeth sensitivity after whitening. Some brand names would be Advil, Motrin, and Tylenol.

  • Use the KoR desensitizer. This product works similarly to the potassium nitrate except it is more effective because it creates calcium oxalate crystals which uniquely binds to your dentinal tubules. All of the toothpastes on the market do not do this.

All of these methods will help get rid of the sensitivity or at the very least, alleviate the tooth pain.

How long does teeth sensitivity last after whitening.

Immediately after the whitening procedure, you can expect the sensitivity to last for up to two to three days but sometimes as long as one week. The sensitivity should resolve within 2-3 days for most people. The unfortunate ones will have to endure the pain for up to a week.

We've had someone who did the KoR whitening experience a toothache lasting for the entire night and caused her to not get any sleep at all. That is an example of how severe the sensitivity can get. Although this is an outlier statistic sine we don't get too many people who experience this too often.

The duration of the symptoms should resolve quicker if you stick with the recommended protocol above. Definitely do stay away from foods that will aggravate it, mainly the ones that are at the temperature extremes and also anything that will drop your mouth into the acidic pH level.

What causes teeth sensitivity after whitening?

It is quite normal to be experiencing this after the procedure since it is a known side effect. Normally we do not experience any symptoms because we have smear plugs that are blocking the dentinal tubules that lead to eliciting a pain sensation. When the peroxide gel comes into contact with the smear plugs, it will either dislodge them or dissolve them, thus opening a pathway for sensitivity.

All of the treatments to get rid of sensitivity involve blocking the tubules again or decreasing the nerve's ability to sense stimuli.

Final thoughts

There are a lot of ways to reduce sensitivity after whitening but the one thing most people don't do is to start using a sensitivity toothpaste at least 2 weeks before they begin the treatment. How long the sensitivity lasts can be anywhere from 2 days and up to a week. If you want a whitening effect that is less sensitive, you can also try the whitening toothpastes.

Our long island city dentist specifically offer the KoR whitening and we do have the KoR desensitizer available as well. Feel free to drop by our office in Long Island City for a teeth whitening consultation!


David Chen 200 x 200.jpg

About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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