Teeth Whitening Side Effects: What Patients Should Expect

Woodinville Teeth Whitening Side Effects

Sep 9, 2014 — by Cristin Dowd, DDS
Tags: Teeth Whitening Cosmetic Dentistry Tooth Discoloration

A man smiling at homePatients throughout the greater Woodinville area put their trust in the team at Signature Smiles. By offering the latest in cosmetic dentistry and smile makeover treatments as well as advanced general and restorative dental care, we are able to meet the diverse needs of many patients who visit our practice.

One concern that many patients have when it comes to cosmetic treatments are side effects. Right now we would like to cover some of the basics with regard to teeth whitening treatments and the associated side effects. You may be surprised to learn what these side effects are.

How Teeth Whitening Treatment Works

It may be best to first cover the basics of teeth whitening treatment so you understand why side effects may arise.

With in-office care and many at-home tray systems, the principle is generally the same. A special bleaching gel is applied to the surface of the teeth. This bleaching gel whitens the enamel of the stained tooth, and in doing so, the overall appearance of the tooth is improved.

Tooth Sensitivity After Teeth Whitening

One of the most common side effects of teeth whitening is tooth sensitivity. This occurs due to small pore-like holes in the dentin layer of the tooth known as dentinal tubules, which lead into the internal portion of the tooth where nerves and dental pulp are located. When the bleaching agent works its way into the enamel, it heightens the sensitivity of these dentinal tubules, resulting in increased sensitivity to hot and cold substances.

How long will tooth sensitivity last?

In general, tooth sensitivity will last a few days, with the most pronounced about of tooth sensitivity occurring in the first 24 hours after treatment has been performed. As the days go by, the sensitivity will become less and less pronounced.

How to Address and Prevent Tooth Sensitivity

In order to prevent severe tooth sensitivity during in-office care, dentists will use a tooth desensitizer and carefully administer whitening gel and the overall treatment procedure. When it comes to at-home kits, be sure to follow your instructions to the letter to avoid acute sensitivity.

During the first day or so after teeth whitening, patients are encouraged to consume foods and beverages that are lukewarm (rather than hot or cold) in order to prevent discomfort. Rinsing with lukewarm water is also recommended when brushing your teeth.

Gum Irritation After Teeth Whitening

Another potential side effect after teeth whitening treatment is gum irritation. This occurs when whitening gel gets on the gums rather than remaining on the teeth. The bleaching gel causes a sensation of itchiness to occur along the gumline in such cases.

How long will gum irritation last?

Gum irritation can last a day to a few days depending on the strength of the bleaching gel and the duration it is left on the gums. In general, it does not last particularly long.

How to Address and Prevent Gum Irritation

When undergoing in-office care, dentists and dental hygienists take great care to prevent bleaching gel from making contact with the gums. This professional attention makes gum irritation less likely following in-office care.

To prevent gum irritation with at-home kits, be sure to use these kits as directed. If you feel bleaching gel on your gums, be sure to wipe it off promptly with a cotton swab to prevent major burning or irritation.

Learn More About Cosmetic Dentistry

For more information about teeth whitening treatment and how it can be of great benefit to you and your needs, be sure to contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. The entire team here at Signature Smiles looks forward to your visit and helping you achieve a beautiful smile.

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