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How does teeth whitening cause sensitivity and how to deal with it?

Colour of the teeth changes due to aging, medications, tooth decay, lifestyle habits such as smoking, tobacco use, food habits like consuming wine and coffee. The sparkling white teeth changes to a dull yellow colour or black. Teeth whitening will help many of the above concerns and bring back the sparkle and also the confidence of the person.

Teeth whitening options are many – from toothpaste, whitening gels, whitening trays and also the most advantageous of them of doing teeth whitening at a dental clinic. Depending on the stains whether they are intrinsic or extrinsic the whitening procedure is chosen. Oral health and lifestyle affect the procedure that is chosen. Cutting down or stopping habits like tobacco usage will ensure that the tooth colour does not go dull.

Whitening procedure

Understanding the teeth whitening procedure is important to know why the teeth sensitivity is caused. In this procedure in a dental clinic, dentists will apply a mixture containing hydrogen peroxide which is a bleaching agent to the teeth. A laser or a heating lamp is applied to the teeth to fasten the process. The bleaching agent will then work on the stains and remove them or lighten them as the case may be. Depending on the extent of discolouration, the procedure requires time. Gum lining and lips will be protected by guards which the dentist will place before the procedure begins.

Teeth whitening trays are also available from dental clinics. They are custom made and these trays contain the gels that work on the stubborn teeth stains. Instructions on using this will be given by the dentist. It requires that the person wear these trays for specified days and amazing results are obtained. Teeth whitening can be done at home using kits available in the market. One only needs to follow the instructions that are given in the box. The disadvantage will be that if unsure about the irritation or discomfort that are caused by the ingredients in the kits. Gum irritation is one of the most common issues that many have reported.

Sensitivity after whitening and how to overcome

Sensitivity in teeth may be experienced by some after teeth whitening. The teeth get affects when hot or cold food is consumed. Discomfort, pain and irritation are felt while consuming food. This is caused by the whitening chemicals that are used. As mentioned earlier, the dentists will take care to guard the gums and lips before the procedure. This helps to stop teeth sensitivity. But in some cases, if the gels used from the market seeps into the dental enamel and reach the nerve endings of the teeth are affected and teeth sensitivity sets in. This usually does not last long and will be back to normal in a few days. Sensitivity also happens as some are sensitive towards peroxide which is an active ingredient in whitening products.

Do the procedure at the clinic

If the procedure is done at a dental clinic, then the dentist will conduct a dental examination to understand the nature of the oral tissues. If they are found to be sensitive then before the whitening procedure is done – the dentists will suggest to using toothpaste that will build the resistance. The dentists will suggest using the toothpaste preferably a few days before the treatment. This will help in reducing the teeth sensitivity to a large extent.

Use optimum concentration of whitening agent

The concentration of whitening agents is less in kits found in markets. This can help to reduce teeth sensitivity to some extent. But due to this very reason, to get the desired effect the whitening product needs to be used for a longer period. In the case of whitening trays, some use them while they are sleeping. The whitening agents will whiten the teeth while the person sleeps and save time. But there is a drawback in this case. Teeth sensitivity starts to appear as irritation or discomfort when the trays are applied. If a person is sleeping, then they must not register this discomfort. So it is best to start doing the procedure at a time when can check the discomfort or irritability. It must also be kept in mind that this issue can affect gum tissues or other soft oral tissues.

Use proper toothpaste

After the procedure also toothpastes that help in building the strength of the teeth in dealing with teeth sensitivity can be used. This will help to reduce the sensitivity that is felt in the teeth after the procedure. Leaving this toothpaste in the mouth for a bit longer than usual will help to provide extra support. Switching to normal toothpastes is possible after the teeth sensitivity goes off. Using a brush that is soft bristled helps to reduce the pressure that is felt by the teeth. Lukewarm water to rinse the mouth will help in reducing the discomfort and pain that is felt due to teeth sensitivity.

Pay attention to diet

Taking care while consuming food will also food. Avoiding food and drinks that are extremely hot or cold and consuming food in room temperature will help reduce the sensitiveness that is felt by the teeth. Reducing or stopping food such as coffee or wine will help to reduce the staining of the teeth and this in turn will reduce the need to have teeth whitening more regularly. Drinking with a straw is advised at this stage as this will make sure that the drinks do not touch the teeth directly and passing them.

If there is concern about teeth sensitivity as it is something that is constantly felt while consuming food, then it needs to be checked with the dentist. One need not wait till a whitening procedure is planned to check on the concern. Teeth sensitivity will be a symptom of underlying dental concerns. Going for regular dental consultations is important as dentists can help guide a person on the proactive measures to be taken for dental health.

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