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How do I Avoid Teeth Whitening Pain?

By Bethany Keene
Updated May 21, 2024
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Teeth whitening procedures, whether done at home or at the dentist, can make the teeth painful and sensitive to hot and cold items. Usually, teeth whitening pain only lasts a few days after the procedure, and not all people experience pain. Unfortunately, it is difficult to completely avoid pain from teeth whitening, but there are a few steps to take.

First, if you are whitening the teeth at home with a kit, you will likely know within a day or two of use if you are going to experience teeth whitening pain. Cutting back on the frequency of use may have an effect; for instance, if you are meant to apply whitening strips to the teeth every day, reducing it to every other day may help to relieve the pain. It will take longer to whiten teeth, but the end result will be the same.

Another way to avoid teeth whitening pain is to take care with the foods you eat when whitening the teeth. Avoid very hot or very cold foods, and rinse the mouth with lukewarm water after a whitening treatment. Some people find that brushing with a fluoride toothpaste intended to treat tooth sensitivity can be helpful in preventing pain after a whitening treatment. Taking an anti-inflammatory drug such as aspirin or ibuprofen may also help to relieve pain in the teeth.

If you are having your teeth whitened by a dentist and have experienced pain in the past, tell the dentist this so that he or she can adjust the concentration of peroxide used, and the amount of time it stays on the teeth. If you experience pain during a whitening treatment at the dentist, it is also important to say something, because the highly concentrated peroxide should not come into contact with the gums. Some dentists give patients a fluoride treatment after a whitening treatment to help avoid teeth whitening pain.

Teeth whitening procedures done at the dentist or at home typically make use of hydrogen peroxide, and are very safe when used as directed. It is likely that you will experience some teeth whitening pain, which may not be able to be avoided. The pain will go away, however, and you will be left with a brighter, whiter smile. Maintain the white smile by avoiding beverages such as tea, coffee, and red wine; drink dark beverages through a straw as much as possible to prevent them from contacting the teeth.

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Discussion Comments

By kylee07drg — On Sep 30, 2012

I think that the safest way to brighten your smile is with teeth whitening toothpaste. Instead of working to remove years of stain in a few treatments, it removes a little bit of daily stains each day and prevents them from accumulating.

I started using a whitening toothpaste years ago, and I haven't needed any alternate teeth whitening methods since. I do drink tea and coffee daily, but I brush my teeth right afterward, and the stains are removed.

A big plus is that there is no pain involved whatsoever. It feels just like any other toothpaste.

By wavy58 — On Sep 29, 2012

@DylanB – Your best bet will be ibuprofen. Take the maximum dosage that the bottle says is safe, and you should start feeling relief in a few minutes.

My first experience with tooth whitening pain occurred after I had been using those whitening strips for months. I knew that the label said that pain was a possibility, but I had never felt any before, so I was surprised when one day, I felt stabbing, throbbing pains in my gums while wearing the strips.

I took them off immediately, and I rinsed out my mouth and brushed my teeth. The throbbing just wouldn't go away, so I took ibuprofen, and it was the only thing that helped.

By DylanB — On Sep 29, 2012

What is the most effective method of teeth whitening pain relief? I feel pain after I use my at-home whitening kit, and I've tried rinsing with warm water, but it doesn't seem to help. I need to know what will give me the most relief.

By giddion — On Sep 28, 2012

I found out that the new dentist I had started going to offered a free teeth whitening session to every new patient. So, I took advantage of that.

Since I had been unaware of this offer, they asked me if I wanted an anti-inflammatory before the procedure to prevent pain. I said that I did, because the fact that pain might be involved scared me a little.

Before that, I didn't even know that teeth whitening could potentially cause any pain. I figured it was all on the surface, but I suppose that the nerves get in on it, too.

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