The Side Effects of Teeth Whitening By Alex Hecht on March 24, 2015

A woman with bright, white teeth, smilingIf you have discolored, yellowed teeth, you may be considering teeth whitening. Zoom!® teeth whitening is a fast and effective treatment to lift years of dental stains and reveal a brilliant, white smile. Before you undergo any teeth whitening treatment, it's important to understand the potential, though minor, side effects. Read this overview from Staten Island cosmetic dentist Alex Hecht to learn more about the potential side effects of teeth whitening.  

The Potential Side Effects of Teeth Whitening

In general, the side effects of teeth whitening are mild and short-lived. For most patients who experience side effects after teeth whitening, symptoms tend to resolve within a few days. Though minor, it's important to be aware of the possible side effects of teeth whitening. Side effects include:

  • Increased tooth sensitivity: Teeth whitening treatments can temporarily expose the dentin layer of the teeth, causing increased sensitivity. For most patients who experience increased tooth sensitivity, symptoms generally resolve within a day or so. For some, increased tooth sensitivity is only noticeable while eating or drinking hot or cold foods and drinks.
  • Gum irritation: Gum irritation may occur following whitening treatments. Though steps are taken with in-office treatments to avoid bleaching agents contacting the gums, if gum irritation does occur, it typically resolves within a few days.
  • Temporary gum discoloration: Though more common with in-home whitening treatments, temporary gum discoloration can occur if whitening gels are in contact with the gum tissue for a prolonged amount of time. Gum discoloration generally resolves within an hour of treatment. 

Tips to Alleviate Teeth Whitening Side Effects

For most patients who experience side effects after teeth whitening, symptoms generally resolve on their own within one to three days. Though symptoms usually resolve on their own, you can alleviate the discomfort of teeth whitening side effects with these tips:

  • Use sensitive formula toothpaste: Tooth sensitivity can be alleviated by switching to sensitive formula toothpaste.
  • Switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush: Teeth whitening can remove the protective mineral layer from our teeth, which exposes the dentin and leads to increased tooth sensitivity. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush can help allow minerals to replenish on the outer layer of the teeth while removing harmful plaque and bacteria.
  • Stick to lukewarm foods and drinks: For most people with tooth sensitivity, the pain is most noticeable when eating and drinking hot or cold foods. Stick to lukewarm foods to prevent the sensitivity caused by fluctuations in temperature.
  • Don't overuse whitening treatments: Overusing whitening treatments can lead to tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. Only use teeth whitening treatments as directed and discontinue use if sensitivity and gum irritation persists.  

Are You a Candidate for Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening can transform your smile and rejuvenate your appearance. To find out if you're a candidate for teeth whitening, or to discuss other treatment options, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Hecht today. Begin your journey to a whiter, brighter smile!

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