Why Do Teeth Whitening Products Hurt My Teeth?

After years of drinking coffee, soda, and enjoying the occasional glass of red wine, your teeth are looking a bit stained and yellow, and it’s making you feel self-conscious to smile, laugh, or even talk in social and professional settings. Using over-the-counter tooth whitening gels and strips don’t seem to be making much of a difference, and you’re considering visiting a Cary cosmetic dentist for professional teeth whitening

However, you’ve done some research and read that this procedure can actually cause tooth sensitivity and pain. This worry is stopping you from calling and scheduling a consultation, much less having the work done. 

To help ease some of your fear and give you some clarity into the procedure, let’s look at why some teeth whitening products can cause discomfort and what can be done to alleviate sensitivity and pain.  

How Does Professional Teeth Whitening Work?

Tooth bleaching uses a peroxide-based gel to gently and safely remove stains, leaving teeth several shades brighter. The gel sits on the teeth for a period of time, usually 45 to 90 minutes, and in that time, stains that have been visible for years are drastically reduced, leaving behind a gleaming white smile. 

Most teeth whitening dentists in Cary do the procedure in-office, where the patient has the gel “painted” onto their teeth. In some cases, the dentist will use the gel in combination with a UV light, thought to “activate” the whitening solution and achieve improved results. 

What Causes Sensitive Teeth After Whitening Strips and Treatment?

Years ago, when tooth whitening was not as precise, abrasive ingredients were used which broke down tooth enamel and caused damage and severe sensitivity. Fortunately, as innovations in teeth whitening products have improved, the solutions are better quality, more effective, and much more gentle.

However, that doesn’t mean that there still isn’t sensitivity. Because peroxide does penetrate the enamel, it can cause mild sensitivity for 24 to 48 hours. Studies show that using a UV light in conjunction with peroxide whitening gels can increase pain, and there’s no proof that the UV light is effective in achieving better results. 

Preventing Pain After Teeth Whitening in Cary

After having a whitening procedure done, you can also lessen the sensitivity and chance of pain by following these guidelines for 48 hours after getting your teeth whitened: 

  • Avoiding hot or cold food and beverages.
  • Using a soft-bristled brush when you brush your teeth.
  • Using Advil or Aleve prior to the procedure and using it in accordance with your cosmetic dentist’s recommendations.
  • Using a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth.

Improved Options for Pain-Free Teeth Whitening

At Beavers Dentistry, we believe in providing a comfortable experience, regardless of the procedure. That’s why, instead of relying on UV lights and generic trays that don’t fit well and can cause additional discomfort, we create a custom fitted tray to fit right over your teeth. Also, we feel there’s no need to sit in our office for up to 90 minutes! We can send you home with the gel and clear instructions on how to use it in the comfort of your own home and at your own convenience.

Similarly to in-office treatments, while you may feel some sensitivity, as long as you follow our instructions and don’t leave the trays in longer than recommended, you should have a pain-free experience that leaves you with a gleaming smile and a renewed feeling of confidence!

Call Our Teeth Whitening Dentists in Cary

At Beavers Dentistry, our top priority is providing you with a comfortable experience and effective results. If you’re ready for a whiter, brighter smile, schedule a teeth-whitening consultation today and learn how we can reduce sensitivity without reducing results! Call one of our Cary dentists at (919) 467-0654 or fill out our contact form below.