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Dentistry Memphis

Sensitivity and Teeth Whitening

Advanced laser teeth whitening treatmentIf you have teeth that are stained or discolored, state-of-the-art in-office teeth whitening can give you a much brighter smile. Just a single session of dentist-supervised teeth whitening can lighten your smile by several shades. Dr. Timothy Messer has helped countless patients in the Memphis, TN area have much nice smiles thanks to professional teeth whitening sessions.

After teeth whitening, patients will experience some degree of tooth sensitivity. The team at Southwind Dental Care would like to go over some of the basics about this common side effect and what can be done to address it.

Why Tooth Sensitivity Occurs

There are three layers to a tooth: the outermost enamel, the underlying dentin layer, and the inner chamber full of soft dental pulp.

During teeth whitening, the bleaching agent penetrates the enamel layer of a tooth to whiten the discolored structure. In the process, some of the bleaching agent may seep down to the dentin layer. Dentin is porous, and when bleaching agent contacts the dentin, it can make the pores (dentinal tubules) more receptive to stimuli. This is what leads to tooth sensitivity during the whitening process.

How Long Will the Tooth Sensitivity Last?

For most patients, the tooth sensitivity after teeth whitening lasts for a few days. By the end of the week, it should no longer be a significant issue. Patients should also notice improvements in tooth sensitivity from day to day.

If you notice tooth sensitivity that lasts for more than a few days, it’s important to speak with your dentist about these matters right away.

Avoid Hot and Cold Foods

One easy way to avoid tooth sensitivity is to avoid eating hot and cold food items and beverages. Heat and cold will often lead to tooth sensitivity. Have lukewarm liquids to drink, and consider using a straw to bypass the teeth. Room temperature foods are a good idea as well.

Stick with Soft Foods Early On

Since excessive pressure can also lead to tooth sensitivity, consider soft foods in the first day or so after teeth whitening so your teeth aren’t put under excessive stress. Avoid tough, crunchy, chewy, or hard foods until your teeth are no longer sensitive.

Use a Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

You’ll need to brush and floss normally after teeth whitening to ensure optimal results. Consider using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth to start. This can go a long way toward reducing discomfort when simply cleaning your teeth, especially in the first day or so after teeth whitening.

Follow Teeth Whitening Instructions Closely

If you are using an at-home whitening kit, be sure to follow all instructions for use carefully. Leaving the bleaching agent on too long or using tooth much bleaching agent can lead to excessive sensitivity. Always follow the instructions for use, whether it’s an over-the-counter system or a professional-strength take-home kit from your dentist’s office.

The Advantages of In-Office Teeth Whitening

People who undergo in-office teeth whitening have their bleaching process professionally monitored. That means patients get optimal treatment without the risk of excessive sensitivity. In addition, cosmetic dentists often give patients a tooth desensitizer after treatment. This helps limit the extent and severity of tooth sensitivity in the first day or so of treatment.

Learn More About Advanced Teeth Whitening

For more information about teeth whitening and how to enhance the beauty of your smile, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic and restorative dentist. The team at Southwind Dental Care is here to help. You can reach us by phone at (901) 751-1260.

Tagged In: Tooth Sensitivity, Teeth Whitening, Cosmetic Dentistry

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I have been to several dentists in the Memphis Area and I have finally found THE ONE!! Dr. Messer is the best dentist I have ever been to. I have complete confidence in any procedure that he performs and I can't imagine ever going to any other dentist.

-Meredith Page B.
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