For some people, teeth whitening can cause sensitivity. Most often, sensitivity is temporary and treatable, so it's important to talk to your dentist before, during, and after your whitening treatment so they can understand and treat your sensitivity issues on an individual basis.
Before you begin any whitening treatment, you should undergo a whitening consultation with your dentist to determine your level of sensitivity and staining. Once your dentist has established your sensitivity level—usually by a touch and air test—they'll be able to determine which whitening treatment will be most comfortable for you while treating the stains appropriately.
If you have a history of sensitivity, your dentist may recommend you take the following steps to help prevent sensitivity during the whitening treatment:
- Using a soft-bristle toothbrush, brush your teeth with Opalescence PF Toothpaste, a desensitizing toothpaste, for 2 weeks.
- Remove any acidic beverages and foods from your diet.
- Wear a prefilled tray or custom trays filled with UltraEZ (desensitizing gel product) for 30–60 minutes once a day or Opalescence PF Toothpaste (desensitizing toothpaste) for 1–2 nights.
- Continue to brush with Opalescence PF Toothpaste (desensitizing toothpaste), but brush 30 minutes before you insert your tray, and wait 30 minutes after whitening to brush again.
- Begin whitening with a low-concentration Opalescence product, or whichever Opalescence product your dentist recommends.
During Whitening Sensitivity
Some people who do not have a history of sensitivity may develop some level of sensitivity during their whitening treatment. If you develop sensitivity during your whitening treatment, your dentist may suggest additional treatment options:
- Reduce concentration of whitening material if possible
- Reduce wear time
- Change from night wear to day wear
- Skip a night or day of whitening
- Stop whitening for an extended period of time
- Continue or start brushing with Opalescence PF Toothpaste (desensitizing toothpaste)
- Wear UltraEZ (potassium nitrate and fluoride product) prefilled trays for 30–60 minutes once a day or your custom tray filled with UltraEZ overnight in place of whitening material for 1–2 nights
- Switch from one whitening gel to another
- If none of these treatments work, your dentist may recommend the whitening process be discontinued.