Dental bleaching or tooth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure to make your teeth whiter and brilliant. Teeth may become darker or stained with aging, because of the smoking, food that you eat or because of the use of certain medications (such as tetracycline). There are different methods used to bleach the teeth, including: bleaching pen, strips, gel or laser. Sometimes, when the whitening proves to be ineffective, dentists recommend veneer or bonding.
The whitening treatment is not usually painful, but some people feel the discomfort or the pain. Due to the gum irritation or tooth sensitivity to the bleaching agents some patients have reported serious pain in the teeth. Tooth sensitivity usually lasts for a day or two after the whitening, and rarely longer than that. Drinking something cold, hitting the teeth or in some case just breathing might provoke the pain in people with sensitive teeth. Gum problems appear less often, but patients complained about intense gum pain after the zoom or laser teeth whitening.
Avoid the Pain
Before the start of the procedure consult your doctor, especially, if you already know to have sensitive teeth. The specialist will advise how to avoid the potential pain, or at least how to make it bearable if it appears.
Some dentists recommend using the toothpaste and/or mouthwash with fluorides, especially for a couple of weeks before the whitening procedure. Fluorides are known to strengthen the enamel of your teeth, making them more resilient to the bleaching procedure and helping you to avoid the post- whitening pain.
Before the whitening, some of the dentists will advise using a painkiller to prevent the discomfort or pain. It is recommended to use ibuprofen (Aleve). There are specialists that recommend using a painkiller before and after the whitening procedure.
After the teeth whitening, avoid both extremely hot and cold food and drinks. Use a soft toothbrush and the toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
Whitening teeth at home might be a good idea, but be careful not to overdo it. Follow the directions on the package and do not use tooth bleach in the areas of receding gums. Be aware that too much of the product, used for prolonged time may provoke teeth sensitivity and lead to constant teeth pain.
If you’re not sure how you will react to the product or use the bleaching product for the first time, it is always advisable to apply a small amount of it and test the teeth sensitivity before the procedure. When you already know that your teeth and gums are sensitive, use smaller amounts of bleaching gels or trays to whiten your teeth.
If the sensitivity and the pain last for more than couple of days, you should consult your dentist.