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Why Do My Teeth Hurt After Whitening?

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Why Do My Teeth Hurt After Whitening?

If you’ve recently opted for some over-the-counter DIY whiteners, you wouldn’t be alone. According to Statista, 37 million Americans used tooth whiteners in 2020. Needless to say, for many of us, taking care of our teeth is about more than just maintaining oral health—it’s about making sure our teeth look good too. 

While we’ve all heard the expression “beauty is pain”, when it comes to teeth whitening, that shouldn’t be the case. If you’re experiencing discomfort after using whiteners, then something is likely wrong with the way you’re applying them, or the whiteners themselves.

What Causes Pain after Whitening? 

There are a few reasons your mouth can hurt after performing an at-home whitening treatment. One of the most common causes of discomfort stems from using one-size-fits-all whitening trays that aren’t custom fitted to your teeth. 

Everybody’s mouth is different, and because over-the-counter whiteners are completely generic, they can push on your teeth and gums uncomfortably, and really start to hurt if you leave them in too long.

Another reason DIYers can sometimes experience pain is due to leaving teeth whiteners in for too long. While the chemicals used in teeth whiteners are generally safe, there’s a reason there are time limits on every application, as if you’re not careful, the chemicals can potentially burn your gums. Leaving badly fitting trays in too long can also cause damage to your teeth; in some cases, loosening them.

How Long Will the Discomfort Last?

While odds are that any pain you’ve been feeling from whitening at home is temporary and shouldn’t last more than a few minutes, if you find the pain isn’t going away, you should see a dentist as soon as possible. Though serious adverse effects are unlikely, you never want to risk doing permanent damage to your teeth.

Is It Normal for Teeth to Hurt after Whitening?

Other than a little sensitivity, it is not normal to experience pain after a professional teeth whitening. Having your teeth professionally whitened by a dentist is a much smoother experience than trying to do it yourself. When you see a professional, your comfort is taken into account from the start, and pain can easily be avoided.  

Your dentist will select whitening trays that are fitted to your teeth and will pay close attention to the amount of time your mouth is exposed to the chemical agent being used. When you don’t take teeth whitening into your own hands, but instead trust it to the hands of your dentist, you’ll find that their expertise is well worth it. 

As mentioned, the only time you may notice some pain after whitening at the dentist’s office is due to sensitivity. Because the teeth whitener lifts stains from your tooth enamel, your teeth will likely feel a little sensitive to things like hot and cold drinks for a couple of hours after your treatment. This is normal, and nothing to worry about.

Do Dentists Offer Take Home Whitening Kits?

Thankfully, it’s still possible to do some of your whitening work at home through custom made whitening kits available through your dentist. If you decide to go this route, your dentist will give you trays made specifically for your mouth, as well as give you personalized instructions on how to safely apply the whitening technology to your teeth.

These types of kits provided by your dentist are far superior to anything you might purchase off the shelf, and are an excellent way to get professional teeth whitening results from the comfort of your home.

Make Your Next Whitening Appointment Today

Your dentist is the only person you can trust to keep your teeth and gums in good shape, and dentists are the real experts when it comes to teeth whitening. Don’t settle for off the rack whitening kits that can leave you feeling uncomfortable and with mixed results. Instead, for a brighter, more confident smile, ask Dr. Papadopoulos at Dentistry on Danforth about getting a professional-grade whitening kit customized just for you.

Written by Dr. Kostas Papadopoulos

Dr. Kostas Papadopoulos received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Toronto in 1992 after completing 3 years of biochemistry and the 4-year program in dentistry. He enjoys continuing education and has attended numerous rehabilitative and cosmetic dentistry programs, including courses taught by Dr. John Kois.

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