I am saving for a smile makeover with porcelain veneers, but I want my teeth whitened first. I decided to save $300 by doing the whitening myself. The problem is that my teeth are sensitive after the whitening and sometimes during the day. I will feel an intense but brief shock in my teeth. So now, without my dentist knowing what I am doing, I would like to ask why my teeth are so sensitive and what I can do about it. Thanks! – Carmen from Lexington, KY
Thank you for your question, Carmen.
We understand wanting to complete teeth whitening before getting a smile makeover. A skilled cosmetic dentist can match your veneers to your newly whitened natural teeth.
Whitening Your Teeth Without a Dentist
Whitening your teeth without a dentist has some risks. Sometimes, bleaching your teeth can make stains look worse, depending on their cause. It is good to know that your whitening is working and not worsening the stains.
Why Are Your Teeth Sensitive from Teeth Whitening?
If you already have sensitive teeth or cavities, bleaching gel will increase sensitivity. How does bleaching gel create sensitivity? These factors contribute to it:
- Bleaching gel causes tooth enamel to become microscopically porous.
- The gel penetrates the dentin (the layer beneath the enamel). If the bleaching gel is too strong, your teeth may be sensitive to whitening.
- Carbamide peroxide in the bleaching gel can affect tooth nerves and create sensitivity.
How Can You Minimize Teeth Sensitivity from Bleaching Gel?
You can minimize sensitivity in your teeth from bleaching gel in several ways:
- Take ibuprofen before or after bleaching your teeth.
- Before whitening your teeth, brush them with toothpaste for sensitive teeth, such as Sensodyne.
- Use a lower-strength bleaching gel.
- Stop bleaching your teeth if sensitivity increases or persists.
- Contact your dentist if sensitivity lingers.
Steven Brooksher, DDS of Baton Rouge, sponsors this post.