Teeth whitening or a tooth bleaching is carried out to whiten teeth that has been stained or discolored. Teeth whitening can be done in-office or at-home whitening using whitening pastes, strips and mouth trays. Dental teeth whitening can give you brilliant whitened teeth instantly. However, the major drawback of teeth whitening is their increased tooth sensitivity to hot or cold fluids. Many individuals have encountered a common problem following teeth whitening. Many complaint that the procedure has made their teeth very sensitive after whitening.
So what makes teeth very sensitive after whitening?
Teeth are enclosed inside the gums and inside each tooth there are millions of minute dentinal tubes or tubules which widens from the pulp chamber (inside the tooth) to the outer tooth surface. The movement of fluids inside the tubules leads to sensitivity. Usually the saliva with foods or minerals plugs the external ends of the tubules and prevents movement of fluids inside the tube and sensitivity. But, during teeth whitening strong bleaching agents such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide are used that dissolves or removes away the blocking minerals. When the plugs are removed or cleaned, the fluids are allowed to move freely inside the tubules hence, this method increases sensitivity after whitening.
Acid reaction in the teeth and gums: Already weakened teeth enamel (caused by cracks or decays, sodas or candies) allows easy penetration of the acids inside the pulp and unplugs the substances causing free movements of fluid and sensitivity.
Mild pulpitis: Penetration of the bleaching agents inside the teeth increases the blood flow as well as pressure in the pulp chamber and causes moderate pulpitis. The diffusion of the bleaching agent in the teeth is necessary to give whitened teeth but, they can increase the pressure and irritate the nerves. This can make teeth very sensitive after whitening to stimuli.
Removed enamel: Furthermore, teeth whitening agents are very reactive and can cause enamel layer to wear off. In-office whitening uses bleaching agents such as hydrogen peroxide and at-home whitening toothpastes use abrasives or course substances to whiten the teeth. They can cause your teeth enamel to wear away. As we know that enamel protects the teeth from sensitivity as well as dental caries, therefore, eroded enamels are at a high risk of bacterial caries and decays. This can make teeth very sensitive after whitening.
Are some individuals are more sensitive to whitening agents?
Yes. No wonder bleaching agents are strong and acidic but, the acid reaction can vary from person to person. For some the reaction may be just a minor sensitivity while for some others it can be severe and painful. Every individual has a different acid reaction. This is due to individual’s genetic role. Genetics play a key role in teeth sensitivity. Some folks (for instance fair skinned) may experience high degree of sensitivity than the other folks. One with some dental problems such as gingivitis, dental decay and periodontitis can also increase the chances of developing painful teeth sensitivity after whitening. Therefore, thorough examination of the individual dental health and history is required prior to teeth whitening. Some may not be eligible at all to perform the teeth whitening procedure.
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