How to Bleach Sensitive Teeth without Causing any Additional Sensitivity

Photo by Flikr user glindsay65 No changes madeAs a hygienist, I see around 10-12 patients a day. The 2 things that I am always asked about are whitening and sensitive teeth. Many people think that if you have sensitivity, you are not a candidate to bleach. There are options for people that have sensitive teeth AND want to whiten them at home. With following these few easy recommendations, you will have all the information you need to be able to bleach your sensitive teeth WITHOUT having any extra sensitivity!

  • Use sensitivity toothpaste a week PRIOR and
    during the bleaching.
  • Get a low concentration of bleach (see below on
    how to determine what “low” is.)
  • Only use for half the time recommended.
  • Use every other day.

Get the Correct Toothpaste

The first thing you will want to do is to get a sensitivity tooth paste. There are several brands that make this. Crest , Colgate and Sensodyne  are all brands that I recommend to my patients. Start brushing with the sensitivity toothpaste a FULL week before bleaching. When brushing, there are a few things that you want to make sure you follow. Make sure you are brushing for 2 minutes in the morning and at night. After brushing, DO NOT RINSE YOUR MOUTH OUT! This is the main reason that people say sensitivity toothpaste does not work. If you rinse your mouth out after brushing, you are rinsing the effective ingredient out that decreases sensitivity. Starting this toothpaste a week before bleaching is pretreating your teeth for the bleaching product. Continue use of this toothpaste during the whole time of bleaching.

Pick a Whitening Product

You must pick a whitening product that has a lower concentration. This is something that will take longer to achieve the results that you want, but will be more comfortable. THIS IS IMPORTANT! When choosing a product, you want to be aware of the active ingredient. This will be either CARBAMIDE or HYDROGEN peroxide. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE! Hydrogen peroxide is stronger than carbamide peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide has a ratio of 3:1 compared to carbamide peroxide. What this means is that if a product is 10% hydrogen peroxide, it is STRONGER than 15% carbamide peroxide. Remember, a LOW concentration is for people that have sensitive teeth. A hint on buying lower concentration bleaching products, they are usually cheaper. I have personally seen wonderful results with patients that use the Crest Whitestrips.  

Cut Directed Time in Half

Read the directions to the bleaching product very carefully. You want to make sure that you brush AND floss your teeth before applying the bleaching product. This allows the bleach to contact your teeth directly, instead of being on plaque. Only wear the bleaching product for HALF the time they recommend. If the directions state to keep on for an hour, only use for half an hour. Most products will be for everyday use until the results are achieved. This is not recommended for people that have sensitive teeth. Using every other day will be sufficient enough for the bleaching while still maintaining comfort.

Follow up Recommendations

Remember, these recommendations are for people that want to bleach their teeth and have sensitive teeth. These steps will make sure that you are doing everything possible to minimize the sensitivity while bleaching. It is important to use follow up products that help maintain white teeth. There are many products on the market that will help with this, although there are 3 that I highly recommend. Please read How to Remove Stains from Teeth at Home.