There are many ways of reducing sensitivity when you whiten your teeth. There are many causes of sensitivity. It is important that if you have dental decay or leaking fillings that these are dealt with first prior to tooth whitening otherwise you can suffer extreme sensitivity as a result. one of the main causes of sensitivity is gum recession as a result of gum disease or overbrushing. Regular visits to your dentist or hygienist will help in avoiding the problems associated with gum recession. Patients who have partially lost the outer enamel layer through tooth brush abrasion or erosion via acidic elements in the diet are also prone to having sensitive teeth.

There are several solutions to minimising sensitivity depending on the type of tooth whitening, the cause of your particular sensitivity and the severity of your sensitivity.

The usual cause of sensitivity in tooth whitening is because a reversible inflammatory reaction is set up in the tooth following removal of a layer which surrounds the tooth called the acquired pellicle. This re-establishes itself shortly after the completion of whitening.


These days many of the home whitening gels will have desensitisers in them. Some home whitening systems include applicators which dispense desensitiser onto the tooth. The type of custom fitting tray that you have is also important-super sealed trays and teeth with small reservoirs keep the gel where it should be helping to reduce sensitivity. The advantage of having home whitening trays is that you can apply desensitising material directly to the trays. A product called tooth Mousse can be placed in the trays and worn at night for a couple of weeks before hand this will help to reduce sensitivity when tooth whitening is carried out, alternatively it can be applied directly to the teeth (You should not use tooth mousse if you are allergic to milk). Other products such as Colgate Prorelief can also be used. Even when you start whitening if you find the teeth are sensitive iether take a break for a night or two or use tooth mousse in the trays instead.


At Ethicare Dental we normally give patients Neurofen prior to starting the whitening. In theory this should help to reduce sensitivity by reducing inflammation within the teeth. Desensitising relief gel is placed on the teeth following completion of the whitening and can be placed on indiviual teeth during the whitening process to reduce sensitivity. The ultraviolet light used to activate the gel during the whitening process can be pulled further away to reduce sensitivity. A protective barrier is placed not only on the gum but also on areas of tooth which have been uncovered by recession. These areas will generally not respond to whitening anyway so it is better to cover them up. Tooth mousse can be placed on the teeth for a few days following the whitening process or for a week or 2 in advance in order to reduce the sensitivity caused by whitening.

The key to effective tooth whitening is to have a check up first so that your case can be managed effectively. Sensitivity is just one of the issues that should be looked at when it comes to whitening your teeth.

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