Laser Teeth Whitening and Teeth Sensitivity to Temperature

Laser Dentistry Scottsdale, AZ

The effects of laser teeth whitening can be dramatic. But those effects sometimes come with teeth sensitivity. If you worry about teeth sensitivity, it could take the joy out of seeing the effects of laser teeth whitening. Laser teeth whitening uses a laser and a gel solution with much more hydrogen peroxide than at-home kits. This high concentration can cause or heighten your teeth sensitivity after the procedure. You may find you are temporarily sensitive to the temperature of food and drinks.

What causes teeth sensitivity

The ingredient hydrogen peroxide in laser teeth whitening causes teeth sensitivity. The laser causes a stronger reaction in the gel solution containing hydrogen peroxide. This can lead to more noticeable teeth whitening. It can also produce enhanced sensitivity. The hydrogen peroxide irritates the nerves of the teeth for some people. The more hydrogen peroxide is present, the greater the nerve irritation for affected patients.

Temperature sensitivity and ways to prevent it

Many people have temperature sensitivity even before laser teeth whitening. People with pre-existing sensitivity can struggle with very hot and very cold foods and beverages. Cold items are especially painful for those with teeth sensitivity. Laser teeth whitening exposes teeth to a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide. This is temporarily irritating to the nerves in the teeth.

Patients should avoid cold foods and drinks. Dentists tell patients with sensitive teeth to only eat and drink things that are close to room temperature. Patients should do this for at least a day or two after the laser teeth whitening procedure. After that, dentists tell patients to test colder food and drinks to see if there is teeth sensitivity. If so, patients can continue to avoid them or can use straws. For cold foods, smaller bites may make it easier.

Fluoride treatments can help to reduce sensitivity. The dentist will often follow a laser teeth whitening procedure with a fluoride treatment. This treatment takes only a few minutes to apply. The fluoride strengthens the enamel barrier between the hot or cold item and the nerve inside the tooth. The dentist may also recommend a fluoride rinse. The patient can use this rinse at home for continued sensitivity issues.

There are several kinds of sensitive toothpaste on the market. Using these kinds of toothpaste can reduce sensitivity after laser teeth whitening. Switching to a toothbrush with softer bristles is also helpful. Thorough brushing is very important. If the teeth are sore, patients may not brush as well. A soft-bristled toothbrush can make it easier to get cleaner teeth.

Treating teeth sensitivity from laser teeth whitening

When the teeth are too sore, you may not enjoy the results. The dentist will help you take steps to lessen teeth sensitivity. Teeth sensitivity generally lasts no more than one to two days after a laser teeth whitening. You should let your dentist know if sensitivity lingers or worsens. Your dentist can apply other treatments for teeth sensitivity in-office. Your dentist may also want to check your teeth to ensure something else is not going on.

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