We all want white teeth, but taking the task into your own hands with at-home bleaching kits can cause sensitivity if you don’t follow the directions to a T. Your discomfort will likely last for only a day or two, but is a sign that you are overexposing your teeth to bleach.
The bleach opens the pores (or tubules) in your tooth enamel so that it can remove stains. This stimulates the nerves, which can be painful, particularly if you exceed the time noted on the packaging or if you bleach too often. It takes a few days for your saliva to remineralize your teeth and make the pain go away.
To limit your sensitive reaction, brush your teeth with a toothpaste that includes fluoride and potassium before and after bleaching, and follow up with a mouthwash that has calcium as an active ingredient, which helps to harden weak enamel. Also, avoid acidic drinks like soda, which can wear away your enamel.
For a longer-lasting whitening treatment, consider an in-office laser- or light-assisted bleaching procedure with your dentist. You’ll be done in an hour and the results last six months to two years.
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