Your smile is one of the best assets you can have. That’s why a lot prefer to have teeth whitening treatments for that confident, winning smile.

Teeth whitening is a gentle, effective treatment that can remove years of tooth stains and reveal a brighter, more youthful smile. To totally renew and restore the smile, teeth whitening can be combined with restorative dental treatments. Although teeth whitening is safe, some individuals may experience a brief increase in tooth sensitivity after treatment.

What Causes Sensitivity After Teeth Whitening?

A lot of things can make your teeth look whiter. The main ingredients in professional tooth-whitening products are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. These strong chemicals have oxygen molecules, which displace other chemicals on your teeth. This forces the discoloring stains to fall off, restoring your natural white smile.

The leading hypothesis for why whitening toothpaste causes teeth sensitivity is the effects of peroxides on your enamel and dentin. As the peroxide whitens your teeth, it also causes slight demineralization, making your teeth more porous.

Your teeth are full of tiny tubes that carry sensations to the nerves in your teeth and gums. Normally, these tubes are covered with a layer of enamel so they don’t cause you any pain. However, they begin to open up and can become painful as soon as you start demineralizing them Thankfully, the sensitivity wears off once your teeth remineralize and the tiny little tubes start to seal up again.

Let’s see the three most common symptoms of tooth sensitivity you can experience after teeth whitening:

1. Tooth Pain

The most common symptom is tooth pain. A tooth that has been demineralized is more porous and has little tiny tubes. As soon as these begin to open up, it can hurt.

2. Tooth Discoloration

This symptom is more common with in-office whitening treatments than with over-the-counter bleach. If you had a very strong in-office whitening treatment, your teeth might become darker than your normal shade.

3. Tooth Abrasion

Over-the-counter teeth whitening products are weaker than in-office whitening treatments. As a result, they don’t cause abrasion as often as when you go for professional teeth whitening services. 

How to Treat Tooth Sensitivity After Whitening?

The good news is that your teeth’s sensitivity after whitening should be temporary. Nevertheless, you may need to take a hiatus from hot and cold food for a few days.

There are many ways to cope with the pain and remedy the sensitivity experienced after whitening treatments. Here are some tips on common dos and don’ts you can observe right after your teeth whitening treatment:


  • Take an over-the-counter or generic pain reliever. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are the most appropriate for tooth sensitivity due to the increased risk of serious bleeding from aspirin.
  • Wear a mouthguard. If you grind your teeth at night, you can reduce the sensitivity by wearing a mouthguard.
  • Try topical solutions. There are tooth-sensitive toothpaste, gels, and rinses. They act as a barrier, reducing contact with your teeth.


  • Eat hard or hot foods, as they will be uncomfortable.
  • Brush your teeth with a toothbrush.
  • Use mouthwash, which tends to be very acidic.
  • Use a mouth guard at night. This can make the sensitivity worse.
  • Stop your treatment early because it can make your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold.


Teeth whitening helps you gain that winning, confident smile. This is why the temporary discomfort you might feel from teeth whitening will all be worth it in the end. Moreover, it’s a safe and effective procedure that can remove years of stains and discolorations and treat a single tooth to all of your teeth. 

There are many things you can do to manage tooth sensitivity. In addition, go to a reputable dentist in your area who can help you choose the teeth whitening treatment that’s best for you.

For safe and reliable teeth whitening in Chattanooga and nearby areas, Shallowford Family Dental goes above and beyond to make you smile. Our contemporary, state-of-the-art facility and staff of expert dentists continue our dedication to providing you with the best dental care. Our multi-doctor team fosters a safe atmosphere of knowledge and competence for all patients. Make an appointment today.

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