How Can Your Dentist Help With Tooth Whitening Sensitivity?

Posted on: 6 February 2017

If you have sensitive teeth, then you may shy away from certain dental treatments, like tooth whitening. This may be a good choice, unless you are unhappy with the yellow or brown stains on your teeth. If this is the case, then you can opt for a professional whitening. However, you should speak to your dentist about some other treatments and preventative measures that should accompany the whitening.

Desensitizing Varnish

If your teeth are sensitive after whitening, then this is typically caused by the exposure of the tooth dentin. Most whitening treatments remove the debris from the cracks in the enamel. Once these cracks are open and free of stains, the dentin shows through the cracks. Dentin is porous and sensitive. While the sensitivity allows you to feel pressure and temperature changes, it can also cause some pain and soreness. This is especially true after a whitening treatment.

Dentin is sensitive due to small holes in the material. The holes are called tubules. The openings can be partially closed to reduce sensitivity, and your dentist can use something called a desensitizing varnish to close the tubules. The varnish is made with a material called strontium, and the material can be directly added to the teeth once your treatment is over. The varnish is clear and will last for several months to minimize sensitivity issues.

Special Toothpaste

If you inform your dentist that you have sensitive teeth or that you have had a problem in the past with dental whitening treatments and tooth pain, then the professional can lower the concentration of the whitening solution. Basically, a bit less of the active ingredient will be added to the whitening gel. While this may leave some of the stains on your teeth, it keeps the dentin from being fully exposed.

If you do want a full concentration of the whitening solution, then you can ask your dentist to prescribe a special toothpaste for you that will reduce sensitivity. These pastes typically contain a large percentage of fluoride and potassium nitrate. This allows the formula to strengthen the enamel while also making the dentin less likely to release strong sensations.

Over-the-counter products can work well to keep the sensitivity at bay. Consider buying a mouthwash for sensitive teeth to use with your prescription paste. A gentle toothbrush can help to reduce some sensitivity issues as well. Speak to your dentist about the best brush to use, or invest in an electronic toothbrush that requires less pressure to clean the teeth. 

For additional information, contact a dental clinic like Carpenter Dental.