Everyone loves a bright, white smile. But sometimes, we go overboard and use harsh teeth whitening products in order to artificially create a dazzling grin that everyone remembers. Too bad those pearly whites often come with a particularly nasty side effect: tooth sensitivity!
Tooth sensitivity is incredibly common, both among those who use teeth whitening products and folks who just don’t brush or floss well enough. However, it’s always uncomfortable and can quickly become an annoying, unavoidable part of your day if you don’t take care of it and figure out how to calm down your teeth’s sensitive nerves.
While you should schedule an appointment with your dentist ASAP if you find your teeth are hurting or overly sensitive, there are also some things you can do to alleviate the symptoms of tooth sensitivity, and make the condition easier to live with while long-term solutions are figured out.
Let’s break down these tips one by one.
Wait, Why Do Teeth Become Sensitive After Whitening in the First Place?
When you whiten your teeth, you normally use a bleaching solution to remove stained particles from your enamel, which has the effect of whitening your teeth when used in conjunction with ingredients like vitamin C, calcium, and certain organic oils. Bleaching your teeth excessively is never a good idea, but plenty of people do this in the pursuit of a perfect smile.
It should, however, be noted that there are great teeth-whitening kits that don’t overly bleach your teeth and that use natural ingredients to achieve the same effect.
In any event, if you have tooth sensitivity after whitening your teeth, it’s probably because of bleaching.
By bleaching your teeth, you can remove some of the minerals that form your teeth’s enamel and cause small holes called microtubules to form. These are small pores that act as gaps that lead from the center of your teeth down to the cores, where your teeth’s roots are.
As you might guess, this can lead to some serious sensitivity! Your teeth’s roots are normally quite sensitive regardless, but opening them up to the air and, worse, to any food particles or bacteria that may get inside, can lead to more pain, cavities, and even root damage.
Other Reasons Sensitivity May Occur
Beyond whitening your teeth, you might also experience excessive tooth sensitivity for other reasons.
Note that practically every cause of tooth sensitivity involves breaking down enamel and exposing the core of your teeth.
- Cavities are a key cause of tooth sensitivity. But this type of tooth sensitivity is more likely to act up when you expose your teeth to sweets or hot and cold food
- Worn down fillings, which can cause similar problems as described above
- Gum recession and gum disease, both of which can expose the roots of your teeth
- Brushing your teeth too hard, which may cause you to wear down your teeth’s enamel over time, even as you try to keep things clean
Yikes! All this talk of tooth sensitivity can make it seem like it’s almost impossible to get things back to normal. But the truth is, so long as you can replace the minerals that were removed from your whitening or other efforts, your sensitivity should also fade.
Symptoms of Tooth Sensitivity
The symptoms of tooth sensitivity can vary from person to person. But in general, you’ll probably experiencing the following effects:
- Sudden and shooting pain in your teeth. This often extends down into the roots of your teeth, meaning an entire tooth or side of your jaw could feel painful
- Tooth pain when exposed to temperature fluctuations, like when drinking a cold soda or sipping a cup of hot tea
- Tooth pain when you bite down on hard foods, like chips
- Tooth pain when you eat sweet, acidic, or sour foods
In other words, the most common symptom is pain! However, additional tooth sensitivity symptoms can include tooth fragility (where your teeth may be more likely to break or chip since there are tiny holes in them) and a greater likelihood of cavity formation.
Tips to Calm Your Teeth’s Sensitive Nerves
While tooth sensitivity can be frustrating and fatiguing to deal with, there are ways through which you can calm your teeth’s sensitive nerves, both in the short term and until you restore your teeth’s enamel or visit a dentist.
Use a Sensitivity Relief Gel
Consider using a sensitivity relief gel. Dr. Brite makes one of the best on the market – our Sensitivity Relief Pen is made without any parabens, sulfates, and other harmful chemicals that could exacerbate your tooth sensitivity problems.
Natural ingredients like aloe vera juice, non-acidic vitamin C, coconut oil, peppermint oil, hempseed oil, and more all combine to help protect teeth and gums while providing sensitivity relief.
Need a full-on tooth sensitivity treatment? Dr. Brite’s Sensitivity Relief Kit contains not only the Pen, but also additional sensitivity products like Sensitivity Relief Mouthwash, Sensitivity Relief Toothpaste, Oral Healing Spray, and much more. It’s a perfect choice if you want to eliminate tooth sensitivity and gum sensitivity over the long-term. Check out Dr. Brite’s whole collection of oral care solutions for sensitive teeth to find the relief you’ve been looking for!
For starters, try to brush your teeth a little more gently than you may have been doing already. By brushing your teeth too hard, you can accidentally create small pores that may make teeth even worse and irritate the roots inside individual teeth.
It’s also important to brush gently since the inside of your teeth aren’t designed to withstand significant brushing – avoid getting any bristles in small gaps if you see them.
Avoid Acidic Foods and Fruits
Don't eat acidic foods and fruits. You're probably doing this already if you experience tooth sensitivity, but it's doubly important since acid can work its way into the small microtubules of your vulnerable teeth and cause the gaps or holes to become larger. This can cause irreversible damage deep inside your teeth, possibly resulting in a rotten tooth or a root canal.
Remember to Visit Your Dentist Regularly!
Obviously, you should make it a habit to visit your dentist twice per year. This is good not only to check for any early problems, like cavities or gum disease, but also to thoroughly clean your teeth. Brushing and flossing at home simply don't compare to the full treatment you can receive at a dentist's office, and it’s one of the best ways to avoid getting cavities over time.
Avoid Chewing on Ice
Try to avoid chewing on ice and other hard food objects. Ice and similar items can wear down the enamel of your teeth over time, worsening the problem already started by teeth whitening products. This may also mean you should avoid particularly hard food items like certain types of candy, chips, and some kinds of nuts. Consult with your doctor to get a professional’s opinion.
As you can see, there are several things you can do to alleviate tooth sensitivity after whitening them. However, you’ll probably need to use several of these tips over time as you work to restore your teeth’s enamel and schedule an appointment with your dentist. They may prescribe you more powerful prescriptions or give you additional advice to help alleviate tooth sensitivity. Good luck!