Why are my teeth sensitive?
Sensitive teeth are typically caused by worn tooth enamel, fracture lines in the teeth from clenching and grinding or exposed roots.
You can have one sensitive tooth or feel the sensitivity in all of your teeth.
Signs of sensitive teeth
- sensitivity to temperature variations including hot or cold
- sensitivity to air
- pain or discomfort during brushing or flossing
- sensitivity to acidic or sweet foods
- sensitivity to alcohol based mouth rinses
- gum sensitivity
- random “zingers” or sharp pains that happen in short, intense bursts
Sensitive to hot and cold
Our nerve endings are protected by the hard enamel that is the outer surface of the tooth. When the outer, protective surface is weakened or the underlying dentin is exposed, tooth sensitivity can occur. This unpleasant sensation may come after eating or drinking hot/cold food or beverages. It can make eating or drinking a painful activity and can even lead to loss of weight.
Why are my teeth sensitive to whitening gels?
Many people with sensitive teeth find themselves in a predicament when they wish to whiten their teeth. Depending on the condition of your teeth, the painful effects of teeth whitening may not be worth it. Contact your dentist to discuss why you’re experiencing sensitivity to whitening gels. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to lessen or stop tooth sensitivity before you decide to whiten.
To lessen or stop teeth sensitivity:
- gently brush teeth with a soft bristled tooth brush and remember to floss daily
- use a desensitizing toothpaste. We suggest Sensodyne toothpaste as has been proven as an effective alternative to harsher toothpaste.
- if sensitivity is occurring because of teeth grinding and jaw clenching, wear a mouth guard at night
- Fix cracked, chipped or broken teeth
- treat gum disease and gum recession
- avoid eating and drinking foods and beverages with high acidity or try drinking through a straw
- rinse nightly with saltwater
- try swishing with coconut oil
What are “zingers”?
“Zingers” are described as brief, intense flashes of pain in the teeth during whitening. The first 72 hours after whitening the teeth is the most vulnerable time for sensitive teeth. When we experience this little zap of pain, a dentist may call this temporary painful twinge a “zinger”.
Teeth whitening options for sensitive teeth
Most dentists agree that bleaching gels are the most effective at actually whitening the teeth and getting rid of tough tooth stains. Some whitening toothpastes can offer some milder results.
Recommended teeth whitening gel for sensitive teeth:
ZOOM! 22% carbomide peroxide delivers excellent results with minimum sensitivity. This product is a medium-strength gel and is for sensitive teeth. This product is to be used with custom made whitening trays.
*If teeth sensitivity occurs, take a break from using the gel. Try whitening every other day, use less gel (make sure it does not sit on the gums) and shorten the length of time you’re whitening.
Recommended whitening toothpaste:
Sensodyne Extra Whitening Toothpaste
This is the #1 dentist recommended brand for of whitening toothpaste for sensitive teeth. This paste helps remove stains while protecting the teeth if used daily.
Are you a good candidate for teeth whitening?
Remember, artificial teeth cannot be whitened. This includes crowns, bridges, porcelain veneers, fillings and dentures.
If you’re curious as to whether you’re a good candidate for teeth whitening, consult with your dentist or take our 60 second quiz to see if Sentinel Mouthguards At-Home Teeth Whitening is right for you!