How long do teeth whitening side effects last? I am scheduled for teeth whitening in a month and would like to know if I need to reschedule due to possible side effects. I got engaged last week, and now my friends are throwing an engagement party the day after I was supposed to get my teeth whitened. I do not want to be in so much pain that I cannot enjoy the party or smile for pictures. I called the dental office where I am getting the whitening, and they said I would not have side effects that would be so uncomfortable that it would prevent me from my routine. Will you please confirm that? Thank you. Journee from Fishkill, NY
Thank you for contacting Bayou Dental Group regarding in-office teeth whitening. Congratulations on your engagement! Generally, any discomfort after in-office teeth whitening will be minimal. We will explain what you can expect.
How Long Do Teeth Whitening Side Effects Last?
Sensitivity after in-office teeth whitening, such as Zoom Whitening, may last two to four days. However, your dentist can anticipate the level of sensitivity you may experience and condition your teeth to minimize sensitivity. Also, your dentist may adjust the bleaching gel strength or the number or length of whitening sessions.
Some dentists offer suggestions to increase your comfort. The recommendations may include the following:
- Use Sensodyne toothpaste at least two weeks before your whitening appointment
- Manage discomfort with ibuprofen
- Avoid very cold or hot foods and drinks for a day or two after whitening
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and Sensodyne toothpaste after the whitening treatment
- Wait until sensitivity decreases before using at-home follow-up whitening
Why Are Teeth Sensitive After Whitening?
Your teeth may be sensitive after whitening because the teeth-whitening process opens tiny tubules in the enamel that break down stains in the dentin (the layer beneath the enamel). As the bleaching gel moves through dentin pores, it can reach nerves and cause sensitivity.
You can talk to your teeth whitening dentist about your concerns. The dentist can prepare you to minimize discomfort if your teeth are generally sensitive to heat or cold. After speaking with the dentist, you can decide whether to keep or reschedule your teeth whitening appointment.
Monore, Louisiana, accredited Fellow of cosmetic dentistry Dr. David Finley sponsors this post.