Bleaching your teeth is a great way to get a brighter, more attractive smile. But one thing that often stops people from whitening their teeth is sensitivity. While the sensitivity from tooth whitening is temporary, it can be quite annoying and even painful. Luckily, there are some things you can do to treat it and minimize your discomfort.
Use Toothpaste For Sensitive Teeth Before You Whiten
Using special toothpaste made for sensitive teeth might sound like an obvious idea – but it's also important to use your toothpaste before whitening if possible. Brushing right after whitening is a bad idea as your teeth are already sensitive and your dental nerves may be on high alert. Brushing beforehand, however, can give the toothpaste time to block the pain channels in your teeth.
It's surprising how many people attack their teeth like they're going to war on cavities. But overzealous brushing can irritate sensitive teeth, so choose a toothbrush with soft bristles. Brush gently in a circular motion – you're not scrubbing your teeth clean but loosening and removing plaque, which is a soft material. At the same time, don't skimp on flossing; plaque stuck between teeth near the gumline can lead to receding gums, which is a common cause of sensitivity in teeth.
Avoid Acidic Foods
Many bleaching chemicals are slightly acidic already, so acidic foods and drinks – like citrus fruit, sodas, or fruity candies – can be extra-aggravating when they push the mouth's pH even lower. Too much acid can damage the enamel of your teeth, exposing the sensitive dentin underneath. You can also purchase mouthwash that is labeled as "pH-balancing" to help get your mouth back to normal as quickly as possible.
Treat Underlying Sensitivity
If your teeth were already sensitive before you started bleaching, then there's an underlying problem with your teeth that you should discuss with your dentist. Most likely, you either have damaged enamel on your teeth or you have slightly receding gums. Whatever the cause, treating your existing sensitivity will make whitening much more pleasant. Talk with a dentist, like those at Advanced Family Dental Care LLC, if you have any concerns.
Change Bleaching Methods
If you are experiencing bleaching sensitivity from at-home whitening products, then it might be a good idea to have your teeth professionally whitened by your dentist. Instead of sensitivity spread out over weeks as you go through an extended whitening-strip program, you can get your whitening done in a single session. You're still likely to experience some sensitivity afterwards, but you can start soothing and treating your teeth right away.