If you have sensitive teeth, you may be hesitant to try teeth whitening for fear of increased sensitivity or pain. However, the good news is that several options are available to help you achieve a brighter, whiter smile without causing discomfort. Today, we’ll help you explore some common causes of tooth sensitivity and discuss how to get safe and effective teeth whitening for sensitive teeth. 

What causes tooth sensitivity?

But first, let’s talk about what causes tooth sensitivity. It is a common condition that affects many people and can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Gum recession: When the gums recede, the sensitive part of the tooth (the dentin) becomes exposed, causing sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures.
  • Enamel erosion: Enamel is the hard, protective layer on the outside of your teeth. When it erodes, it exposes the sensitive dentin underneath.
  • Tooth decay: Cavities can cause tooth sensitivity, especially if they are located near the gum line.
  • Teeth grinding: Grinding teeth can wear down the enamel, leading to sensitivity.

So, how can you whiten sensitive teeth?

If you have sensitive teeth, don’t fret because several options and tips are available to help you enjoy a glowing smile. Here are a few options to consider:

  1. Use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth before the treatment: Look for a toothpaste formulated with ingredients that can help reduce sensitivity, such as potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. This kind of toothpaste can help prepare your teeth for whitening by minimising discomfort.
  2. Try a low-concentration whitening gel: Many at-home whitening kits come with a high-concentration gel that can cause sensitivity. However, options are now available with lower concentrations that are gentler on teeth. Look for products with 10% or less hydrogen peroxide to reduce sensitivity.
  3. Consider professional in-office whitening: If you have severe sensitivity or want a faster, more effective result, in-office teeth whitening may be the best option. Your dentist can use a stronger whitening gel, but they can also take steps to protect your gums and minimise your tooth sensitivity.
  4. Use desensitising treatments: Before and after teeth whitening, you can use a desensitising gel or fluoride treatment to deal with your tooth sensitivity. That can be the best approach to teeth whitening for sensitive teeth. 
  5. Avoid foods and drinks that can increase sensitivity: Certain foods and drinks, such as citrus fruits, soda and coffee, can increase tooth sensitivity. Avoid these for a few days before and after your whitening treatment.
woman with dentin sensitivity


What about dentin sensitivity after teeth whitening?

Even with the above precautions, some people may experience temporary sensitivity after whitening, especially to hot and cold temperatures. This is because teeth whitening temporarily opens the pores in the enamel, allowing the whitening gel to penetrate deeper and break up stains. As a result, the dentin layer underneath may become more exposed and sensitive.

But this sensitivity is usually mild and temporary. It’ll typically subside within a few days. You can minimise sensitivity by avoiding hot or cold foods and drinks, using a desensitising toothpaste, and getting a fluoride treatment to strengthen the enamel. In severe cases, your dentist may also prescribe a stronger desensitising treatment.

Are there other considerations?

Before starting any teeth whitening treatment, it’s important to consult with your dentist to ensure it’s safe and appropriate for your individual needs. In addition to sensitivity, there are a few other considerations to keep in mind:

  • Existing dental work

If you have existing dental work, such as fillings or crowns, they will not whiten along with your natural teeth. This can result in uneven colouring or discolouration. Your dentist may recommend replacing or updating the dental work to match your newly whitened teeth. 

  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding

It’s best to avoid teeth whitening if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. While there is no conclusive evidence that teeth whitening is harmful during pregnancy or breastfeeding, it’s better to err on the side of caution and wait until after you have given birth or stopped breastfeeding.

  • Medications

Certain medications, such as antibiotics, can cause tooth discolouration. In these cases, teeth whitening may not be effective. It’s crucial to discuss any medications you are taking with your dentist before starting an in-office whitening treatment.

Get your professional teeth whitening at SmileBar.

To sum it up, having sensitive teeth does not mean you have to give up on the idea of a brighter, whiter smile. Proper precautions and suitable products can help you safely whiten your teeth without experiencing discomfort or pain. Consult with your dentist to determine the best course of action for your specific needs and ensure a safe and effective whitening treatment or product.

And if you prefer professional in-office teeth whitening for your sensitive teeth, book an appointment at SmileBar. We have locations in Sydney, Adelaide, Perth & other cities in Australia. Our teeth whitening starts with a consultation to ensure the treatment will deliver optimal results. We also provide after-care instructions to keep your brighter smile last longer.