Can Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Cause Tooth Sensitivity?

The Dilemma of DIY Teeth Whitening

People resort to teeth whitening products in 3 ways: via the dentist, dispensed by the dentist to use at home, and over-the-counter products or made at home products without the oversight of the dentist. If you should opt for over-the-counter teeth-whitening kits (or via DIY method), which are plenty at drugstores and supermarkets, are you concerned about their safety? Can they cause teeth sensitivity?

Most whitening kits can be effective, depending on what you’re using it for. Is it for staining, discoloration? What level of whitening is the goal? Instructions should be carefully followed. All teeth whiteners contain the active ingredient hydrogen peroxide (which is much stronger) or carbamide peroxide.

Teeth Sensitivity

According to dental experts, teeth whitening kits are generally safe. There may be potential sensitivities, which are transient, especially if a combination of over-the-counter and dentist-dispensed whitening kits is used. The peroxide-based gel bleaches the stains on the tooth surface as well as stains deeper inside which causes the sensitivity. If the gums get in contact with the peroxide, there will also be sensitivity. The sensitivity will normally subside within a few days.

If you are already experiencing tooth sensitivity, teeth whitening may not be an option. Those who are susceptible to sensitivity, because gum recession is already present, or worn enamel has been detected, you will only increase your chances for sensitivity by using a teeth-whitening kit. It is still best to see your dentist, ask for a recommendation, before you start your DIY teeth whitening plans.

With that said, professional teeth whitening offers more advantages than using DIY whitening kits. Performed by a dentist, the process removes the uncertainty and discomfort of over-the-counter kits. Treatment in-office is more comfortable, customizable, and thorough. While the DIY option may be a lot cheaper, the benefits of professional whitenings are more cost-effective in the long run.


Safe and Sure Teeth Whitening in Bellevue

When you are considering professional teeth whitening with minimum to no tooth sensitivity, come by Overlake Dental and ask your Bellevue dentist.