Extreme tooth sensitivity caused by teeth bleaching

Post teeth bleaching tooth sensitivity gradually escalates. For some its mild and for others it”s as inconvenient as a migraine headache. So why are some prone to extreme tooth sensitivity while others aren’t phased?

Tooth enamel rest on the surface of dentin. Enamel is a clear and hard coating present to protect the dentin from extreme temperatures, impact, and substances. Tooth enamel cannot be replaced which is why some people have an everlasting indentation on their teeth which seems to be off colored in comparison to the rest of the tooth’s surface. When enamel is lost it means there is that much less in between your tooth’s dentin and the outside environment which means the persons level of sensitivity will be elevated. The thicker and stronger the tooth enamel, the more resistant the tooth will be to temperature and substances. More can be read here on the causes of tooth sensitivities.

How to relieve extreme tooth sensitivity post teeth whitening

Tactic 1: You should brush your teeth before whitening, not after. The abrasive touch of the brush will further disrupt the tooth, thus making the teeth more sensitive. When you remove your bleaching trays simply rinse your mouth a few times.

Tactic 2: If you know your teeth are sensitive prior to your first bleaching treatment it is wise to use a desensitizing gel containing both 5% potassium nitrate and fluoride before for 10-30 minutes before inserting your bleaching trays.

Tactic 3: While bleaching gel manufacturers try to make a solution that is pH balanced, they can still end up with a bleaching agent that is slightly acidic. A less traditional effort at reducing tooth sensitivity is balancing your pH using a solution best explained in a video tutorial made by Dr. Scott Frey over at FreySmiles. Dr Frey also discusses desensitizing tooth paste in a different video.

Tactic 4: If your teeth are extremely sensitive yet you insist on doing something about your yellow smile then your best bet is to select a lower concentration of carbamide peroxide whitening gel in the 10-16% range. It is not recommended you exceed 22% concentration unless under the supervision of your dentist.

Tactic 5: You may be consuming highly acidic foods, if so perhaps a modification is in order?

Tactic 6: Reduce your bleaching time. While some people sleep with their whitening trays it is not recommended you exceed 3 hours.

Tactic 7: Tooth sensitivity can last all day; however a temporary solution is an anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen.

Erin Stelbrink

Erin Stelbrink is a Registered Dental Hygienist with 5+ years of experience as a licensed hygienist and oral health care professional. She holds a passion for researching and acquiring awareness of the latest technologies and methods for providing valuable health care service and clinical treatment. Have more questions? Email Erin at