Ouch! How Can I Whiten My Sensitive Teeth?

Ouch! How Can I Whiten My Sensitive Teeth?Pain is beauty, and you are tough, but is the pain of whitening your teeth just too much? Here is how you can help yourself to a beautiful, white smile—without a side of pain.

Start by Whitening Correctly

Maybe your pain is caused by your whitening process. Take a look at these steps to see if there are ways you can make the process less painful.

1. Brush before, not after. It’s better for your teeth if you brush them before applying any whitening products. If you frequently bleach your teeth, they become more porous. If you brush after using a whitening agent, you are further increasing that porosity. Be sure that the toothbrush you are using is a soft bristle brush, and always remember to take care to brush gently. There is never a need to scrub your teeth or gums.

2. Follow instructions. Always read all of the directions that come with whitening products you use on your teeth. Be sure not to leave the product on your teeth for too long. If you have sensitive teeth, you can leave the product on your teeth for less than the allotted time the instructions recommend.

3. Avoid overuse. Try to limit how frequently you whiten. You can even use the whitening strips once a month and use a whitening mouthwash intermittently during the month.

4. Use desensitizing gel and toothpaste. Use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth (one with a desensitizing agent is best). Apply a dab of desensitizing gel to the areas of your gums that you know are particularly sensitive. It’s good to continually use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth every time you brush, and the gel as frequently as needed.

5. Be sure to rinse. Always rinse your mouth out after bleaching your teeth. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water to counteract any of the acidity that is left on your teeth. Exposing

your teeth to acidity for long periods of time eats away at the enamel, leaving your nerves exposed. Any time you eat things or use products that are highly acidic, it’s important to rinse!

6. A little goes a long way. You don’t need to use a product that has the highest level of peroxide in it. Instead, use a product with a lower amount of peroxide. You will still see the results, but without the pain and damage high levels of peroxide can cause.

Keeping the Pain at Bay

If your teeth are already sensitive from whitening, here are some tips for limiting the pain associated with sensitive teeth.

1. Don’t make it worse. Like your skin, your teeth have pores, and when you brush too hard or overexpose them to acid in food or products, they become more porous. This is why you experience sensitivity. Avoid making your teeth more sensitive by brushing gently and not overusing mouthwash or whitening strips.

2. Change your diet. Drink less coffee, tea, and soda. Eat less acidic fruit and sugary candy that could make your teeth more sensitive.

3. Use the right products. Try a calcium-based desensitizing paste like Colgate’s Pro-Again Toothpaste. Use desensitizing gel like UltraEZ, and anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as Ibuprofen as needed.

For further information regarding tooth sensitivity, or to set an appointment with Dr. Harris, please call us at (702) 699-5551.