I Have Sensitive Teeth. Can I Still Whiten Them?

Most people know that sensitivity is a common side effect of teeth whitening.  This fact makes many people with already sensitive teeth wary of attempting to brighten their smiles.  The good news is that you can whiten your teeth, even if they are sensitive.  You simply have to follow a few important steps.  We’ll outline those here.

Determine the Cause of Sensitivity.

First, it is important to understand why your teeth are sensitive.  There are some causes of sensitivity that are also contraindications for teeth whitening.  For example, if your sensitivity is caused by large tooth decay or active gum disease, you should not whiten your teeth.

However, if the cause of your sensitivity is exposed roots due to gum recession, you can whiten your teeth with the help of your dentist.  In addition to prescribing the best way to whiten, your dentist can recommend methods of fighting the sensitivity during your whitening regimen.

If you have not seen a dentist within the last year, you should begin with a thorough evaluation of the health of your teeth and gums.  We can help you rule out active dental disease and identify the specific cause of your sensitivity before recommending the best whitening regimen.

Use Custom Whitening Trays.

One of the ways your dentist can help you fight the sensitivity caused by teeth whitening is through the use of custom-fitted whitening trays.  When your dentist makes professional custom trays from an exact replica of your teeth, she has the ability to adjust the tray to prevent the whitening ingredient from reaching sensitive areas of the teeth.

This customization allows for maximum effectiveness of the whitening while minimizing the risks of negative side effects.  If you have receding gums or otherwise sensitive teeth, talk to Dr. Jill, Dr. Cara and Dr. Summer about how they can modify your custom trays to make you more comfortable during the whitening process.

Use Professional Whitening Gel.

One of the advantages of professional teeth whitening (through your dentist) is the ability to customize your whitening gel.  At Prosper Family Dentistry, we are proud to offer our patients the highest quality products to improve their smiles.  We use Opalescence PF whitening gel made by Ultradent.  This product comes in three different concentrations, so that we can customize your gel to your specific needs. 

Those with sensitive teeth should use a lower strength gel for shorter periods of time than those without sensitivity. 

Another specific advantage of this professional gel is the inclusion of two additional ingredients aimed at fighting sensitivity. 

The first is potassium nitrate, which is a powerful sensitivity fighter.  This ingredient actually calms down the nerves inside the teeth.  The second is fluoride.  Fluoride not only strengthens the teeth to fight cavities.  It also hardens the teeth to improve its insulating ability and fights sensitivity.

More Questions about Sensitive Teeth and/or Teeth Whitening?

Call Prosper Family Dentistry today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jill, Dr. Cara, and Dr. Summer.  We can answer any question you have about sensitive teeth,  teeth whitening, or how one affects the other. 

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