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Can You Get Whitening Done If You Have Sensitive Teeth?

In-office whitening is a great way to brighten your smile, and it is a painless procedure with few side effects. One side effect some people may experience is temporary sensitivity. However, if you already have very sensitive teeth, you may not want to experience increased sensitivity after this procedure. Take a look at why your teeth may be sensitive and how to brighten your smile without exacerbating your symptoms.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

Sensitivity is often caused by worn-down enamel, which exposes cementum and dentin—the underlying structures of your teeth. If you have good oral health, you may wonder why you have sensitivity. Sometimes, diets rich in acidic foods and drinks can cause sensitivity. If you grind your teeth at night, that can also cause sensitivity. Other factors, such as worn fillings, chipped teeth, cavities, and even gum disease can cause sensitivity. Ultimately, you'll want to reach out to your dentist to address this issue. Conservative treatments like remineralizing toothpaste may be enough to correct the issue. However, sensitivity could be indicative of a more serious problem, so again, it's a good idea to reach out to your dentist before pursuing whitening.

Why Does Whitening Cause Sensitivity?  

A lot of whitening products contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. These ingredients work by entering the enamel layer and breaking down molecules that hold stains. As they enter the enamel layer, they can temporarily demineralize the teeth, making them more prone to sensitivity. Thankfully, this is a temporary side effect, and you should find your teeth remineralize soon enough.

How Can You Get Whitening Done and Avoid Sensitivity?

If you have no serious dental issues but still are experiencing sensitivity, the good news is that there are ways to undergo whitening while decreasing the side effects. For instance, some dentists can use whitening agents that contain potassium nitrate and fluoride, which help to combat sensitivity. Some dentists can use bleaching agents with lower concentrations of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. It will take more appointments to get the tooth shades that you want with lower concentrations, but you will be able to avoid increased sensitivity. Lastly, a study found that using phthalimidoperoxycaproic acid (PAP) instead of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide was also an effective way to whiten teeth and avoid the side effect of increased sensitivity.

Reach out to a dentist in your area today to learn more about your whitening options and how to combat tooth sensitivity.