The White Bite: All You Need to Know About Whitening Treatments and Tooth Sensitivity

October 13, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — flowermounds @ 1:57 pm
A man getting a teeth whitening treatment

Do you like coffee? What about tea or wine? All these drinks have one thing in common—they’re full of tannins that discolor teeth. Other habits like smoking can also accelerate the staining process. When stains build up, you may want to brighten your smile, and this is where teeth whitening treatments come in. However, some patients have sensitive teeth afterward.

This phenomenon is perfectly normal, but it could put some patients off treatment. If you’re curious as to the cause of the sensitivity, continue reading.

The “Onion” of Your Teeth

To understand how whitening causes sensitivity, you should know the structure of your teeth. Each tooth is like an onion, that is—it has layers to it.

The enamel is the hard part on the outside, it’s made of a hard, porous material that allows it to absorb minerals from the food you eat. The dentin is the softer structure underneath that insulates the inner chamber called the pulp. The pulp is where all the blood vessels and nerve endings are located.

How Does Teeth Whitening Cause Sensitivity?

Because the outer shell of your teeth is porous (full of microscopic holes) it can take in chemicals and minerals. This is how stains get trapped under the surface of your teeth, making them appear more yellow.

Whitening treatments work the same way. The hydrogen peroxide whitening agents penetrate the enamel and break up the stains trapped underneath. This causes the pores in your pearly whites to widen temporarily, leaving the dentin more exposed.

If the dentin detects a temperature change, the nerves in the pulp chamber fire off, causing pain.

How Long Does Sensitivity Last?

Luckily, the sensitivity from teeth whitening treatments only lasts for around 24 hours. If the sensitivity persists longer than 48 hours, contact your dentist. It could be nothing, but it’s better to have them check you out than to wonder and worry.

Understanding why something happens can often make it more tolerable. Teeth whitening treatments are safe, effective, and easy. If you want to finally cleanse years of stains off your smile, this is the treatment that can help! Don’t let tooth sensitivity get between you and your smile goals!

About the Author

Dr. Lauri Barge is a skilled dentist who believes that quality dental care is the product of a great team. She loves working with patients and has a passion for restoring smiles. Dr. Barge pursued her dental doctorate at Texas A&M College of Dentistry. Since then, she has continued expanding her skills through the prestigious Las Vegas Institute. To schedule a teeth whitening consultation at Lauri Barge DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, call (972) 539-3800 or visit the website to explore other services.