The interest we have in attractiveness is nothing new. Even ancient civilizations put a great deal of effort into looking good, right down to their smiles. Evidence of teeth whitening methods dates back hundreds of years and proves that we have come a long, long way in understanding how to treat the smile safely and effectively.
Millions of teeth whitening treatments are performed annually, indicating high demand for a radiant smile. Patients from their teen years all the way to their senior years can benefit from the improvement that stems from teeth whitening. Research shows that this treatment doesn’t just revamp the smile, it also improves a person’s social and professional image. Why wouldn’t we be flocking to have our teeth treated for discoloration? There is one reason: sensitivity.
As more and more people have reviewed their teeth-whitening experience, often online, it has become apparent that there may be a slight problem for some. Sensitivity can be an uncomfortable side effect that occurs after treatment. It doesn’t affect every person who undergoes teeth whitening, but it has been mentioned enough to cause some patients to feel apprehensive about what might happen in their case.
Why Sensitivity May Occur
The reason our teeth become discolored is often because tiny bits of debris, invisible to the naked eye, have deposited within the tubules that cover enamel. Tubules are like pores, which means they can get clogged with debris. In this instance, that clogging blocks light and makes teeth appear dull and yellow. The objective in teeth whitening is to reach into those tubules to break apart the debris inside. To reach into the depths of enamel means that tubules must be opened, and that means the invisible protective layer of protein on enamel is penetrated. All of this can make the nerves at the center of teeth more reactive.
People who have sensitive teeth may be at a greater risk for sensitivity after teeth whitening. In these cases, we may suggest using a desensitizer or fluoride rinse for several days before whitening treatment. In instances where sensitivity develops after treatment, comfort may be improved by:
- Taking over-the-counter pain medication for a few days.
- Consuming foods and beverages at a tepid or lukewarm temperature.
- Drinking through a straw.
- Avoid mouth breathing for a few days, if possible.
Our family has been serving patients from Milwaukee for several generations. The care we provide to you and your family matters to us. Call 414-377-5711 to learn more about teeth whitening and how we can make your treatment everything you want it to be.