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  • Writer's pictureDr. Pearl E. Whites

Top Tips for Combating Tooth Sensitivity During Teeth Whitening

66% of all complications to whitening teeth is sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures and even to air! Since writing this article we had one patient last week get whitening overdone at another office and she said she'd rather go through labor and delivery again than that! Being a male I have no room to express opinion on that (see YouTube video), but that sounds pretty painful!


What Whitening Agents to Use if You Get Sensitive Teeth?

Our office uses one of the few whitening products on the market that include desensitizing ingredients in the whitening gels. A few suggestions: NEVER exceed the recommended wear time or it will enhance sensitivity. Also, if your whitening products have a concentration % range, you should ONLY use the LOWEST percentage available

  • We highly recommend carbide peroxide 10% whitening in syringes. You inject this into custom trays made at our office and wear this over night--8 hours is the recommendation. >10% concentrations we see a greater jump in sensitivity so don't be tempted.

  • If you use the "Go Trays 10%" this is a one-size-fits-all, only wear the trays for 30-60 minutes.


How Frequent to Whiten if I Get Super Sensitive Teeth?

For obvious results, you can usually whiten the shade of your teeth 2 full shades whiter if you consistently whiten for 5-14 days straight. For those of us with sensitivity, here are a few suggestions:

  • Wear the trays every 2nd or 3rd day instead of daily.

  • Whiten for 1-3 days straight then take a 2-4 week hiatus. Repeat this cycle until you are happy with the results.

  • Wear the trays (2) times per day and cut each session in half. If the tray recommends 60 minutes worn then wear the trays for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening.


Suggestions to Ameliorate Sensitivity When Whitening

  • Use a prescription toothpaste--Prevident 5000 for Sensitivity. Brush with Prevident 2x/day for two weeks prior to whitening. If you have custom trays made then after each whitening session clean off the excess gel and place a light amount of Prevident inside the tray the same way you apply the whitening gel. Wear this between 5-30 minutes. It is a prescription toothpaste that we sell in our office "at cost." **If you do not have access to prescription toothpaste then brushing with Sensodyne or any sensitivity toothpaste with potassium nitrate can be useful but Prevident is much more effective!

  • Never whiten with any whitening product labeled more than 10%. If a recommended wear time is given, favor the lesser time range (i.e. if 10% Go Trays suggest to wear them for 30-60 minutes, remove them at 30 minutes!).

  • If you don't have access to the prescription toothpaste Prevident, ask us to provide you with Ultra-EZ. This is a one-size-fits-all tray you wear for 15-60 minutes directly after whitening just like you would with Prevident.

  • Have our dental hygienist apply fluoride varnish at every cleaning. This shield lasts for a solid month on your teeth so whiten within that window.

  • Extreme cases we can apply a bond over your teeth similar to when you wax a car. This does not alter your teeth shape and is not permanent but the coating is effective.

  • If pain is substantial, take ibuprofen 4x/day (intervals of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime) at least for the first 24 hours and avoid extreme temperature foods both hot and cold. The discomfort will subside but may take a few days.

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