Why Do Your Teeth Hurt After Whitening?

Why Do Your Teeth Hurt After Whitening?

January 12, 2023

Tooth sensitivity after in-office teeth whitening is a huge concern for many patients. However, this side effect is temporary and rarely stays over 48 hours. Every form of teeth bleaching leads to tooth pulp inflammation. It is typically due to exposure to high levels of bleaching agents such as hydrogen peroxide and carbamide.

These chemicals make the teeth a little bit painful after the treatment. It’s mainly when your teeth get exposed to extreme temperatures. It makes activities like eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth difficult. To understand tooth sensitivity, it is crucial to know how the whitening treatment functions. The dental expert will recommend or prescribe products that will help you tackle sensitivity easily. Read below to know what steps you can take to prevent tooth sensitivity after professional teeth whitening.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth After Whitening?

The primary cause of sensitive teeth after in-office whitening is unknown. But dentists suggest that when the peroxide bleaches away the stains on teeth. This results in demineralization and porous teeth. It further exposed dentin tubules within the teeth (microscopic channels in the tooth enamel that connect to the nerves). These microtubules cause sensations on the teeth and feelings of toothache.

The following reasons are behind the sensitivity associated with teeth whitening treatment:

  • Since dentin is porous, when the dentist near you performs in-office whitening, the bleaching agent increases sensitivity from the dentinal tubules.
  • Few whitening trays put pressure on the teeth. It makes them sensitive temporarily.
  • The bleaching gels used for whitening make the enamel more permeable temporarily. It exposes the dentin layer and leads to sensitivity and irritation when contacting the gums.

How to Prevent Sensitivity Associated with Teeth Whitening?

Consider the following pointers to prevent whitening sensitivity:


Before your next whitening appointment,

  • Brush your teeth with tooth sensitivity gel or toothpaste. Do this one week before your treatment. These special products work by masking the dentinal tubules and desensitizing the tooth nerve endings.


During your in-office whitening treatment,

  • When applying a bleaching kit at home, use sufficient whitening gel to cover each tooth.
  • Adjust the timing of the whitening kit according to the sensitivity you face. Try to do more sessions but reduce the timing of each.
  • Avoid sleeping with your bleaching kit in.


After the procedure,

  • Always use a straw while drinking beverages immediately after the treatment. It will prevent the liquid from contacting the teeth and reduce discomfort.
  • Gently brush your teeth using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Now, wash your mouth using lukewarm water and apply desensitizing gel or toothpaste. Leave it for some time and then wash gently. You can leave the paste in your mouth for an additional minute before rinsing it to decrease sensitivity.
  • Refrain from the consumption of tea, coffee, and other teeth-staining drinks.
  • Avoid extra cold and hot drinks because they can stimulate nerve endings of the tooth and cause pain. Rather, prefer lukewarm beverages and foods to ensure your teeth do not get sore.
  • Another way to minimize sensitivity after professional teeth whitening is to ask your dentist to prescribe strength gel or toothpaste specially built to combat sensitivity.
  • Use mouthwash and toothpaste, including fluoride. It will remineralize the teeth and block the pain signals to the tooth nerves.
  • Adjust your diet for several days after the treatment, and strictly say no to crispy, hard, and crunchy food varieties. It’s because they can put more pressure on them to chew them and increase discomfort. Instead, you can chew soft foods like smoothies, etc.
  • When using a kit, put a few bits of sensitive toothpaste into the whitening tray after the end of the treatment. Now, put this tray on your teeth for 20 minutes to minimize sensitivity in the future.

Discuss Your Sensitivity with the Dentist Today.

Sensitive teeth after professional teeth whitening sessions can be due to many reasons. Did you know it affects around 57% of all dental patients? But nowadays, numerous whitening products and sensitivity medicine will keep you comfortable by managing whitening-induced sensitivity.

If you feel your teeth are still extremely sensitive even after two days, get in touch with the dentist at Okemos Smile Center as soon as possible.

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