Any Tips for Whitening Sensitive Teeth?

I already have sensitive teeth to any cold, but want to whiten my teeth. Any and all tips welcomed.

Doctor Answers (2)

Bleaching sensitivity

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This is a very common concern. Some of the in-office systems if they use a light or laser can increase this tooth sensitivity. There is an in-office system called AcquaBrite that utilizes custom fitted trays and a special bleach that has a desensitizer mixed. This greatly reduces sensitivity both during and after the bleaching process.

The in office bleaching sessions are combined with at home bleaching in between office visits, using a bleach that is a lower concentration to decrease sensitivity. For severe sensitivity, limit your exposure time to at home bleaching. Instead of bleaching over night (usually the best way to get beautiful results), possibly try bleaching for an hour or so a day.

Be very careful purchasing over the counter systems just because they are cheaper. They can actually increase sensitivity since they are not custom fitted for each individual.


Chicago Cosmetic Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Bleaching Sensitivity: How to minimize and even avoid it

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If you are already prone to tooth sensitivity and still want to bleach, I'd advise you to follow this protocol:

  • Always bleach at home with custom, lab-fabricated bleaching trays; nothing fits better or will obtain better results.
  • Minimize bleaching time to 15-30 minutes only, utilizing a 20% or 37% carbamide peroxide whitening gel.
  • Pre-medicate with 600 mg Ibuprofen 45 minutes before you bleach. You can also pretreat your teeth with a fluoride (varnish or a prescription paste like Fluoridex or Prevident) at the same time.
  • Don't overload the trays, use minimal amounts of bleach, about the size of a BB in each tray well.
  • Brush all remnants of bleach off the teeth immediately following treatment and rinse well. Use fluoride or a prescription desensitizer, like potassium nitrate, inside the trays and "soak" the teeth.
  • Be careful not to dehydrate the teeth too much; this is accomplished by short treatment times and thorough rinsing when finished.

Hope this helps.

Matt Welebir, DDS
Las Vegas Cosmetic Dentist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.