How Long Will the Pain Last from Tooth Whitening?

I had the procedure done this morning at 11am and I am in the worst pain I have ever been in. I read one comment from a patient who experienced pain for a that possible? Thanks

Doctor Answers 16

Pain after Zoom

Some patients will have pain after Zoom.  It will last the first 24 hours and then will be back to normal.  We have been giving patients pain medicine in the office before the treatment to make the experience so much nicer.  This does not help you now!.  Try to take some Alleve and call the Dentist office and ask for a something for pain.  Try to keep air off of your teeth as this makes the teeth sensitive.  

Pain After Dental Whitening, How Long Will It Last?

Not everyone get's pain after dental whitening, and I know how frustrating it is when someone like you does get considerable pain after the bleaching procedure.  You are probably getting "zingers", intermittent pains that come and go for a few seconds, or possibly a dull continual aching.  For the most part, these pains resolve within 24 hours.

Typically dentists will recommend that the patient take Advil immediately before and four to six hours after.  This can be repeated for twenty four hours.  In rare cases, when the Advil doesn't do the trick within ten hours, some dentists will resort to a single dose of a moderate narcotic, like Vicodin.  Usually that one dose knocks out the pain.

If you had in office bleaching like Zoom, then I would not advise doing in office bleaching again.  You probably have teeth that are just too sensitive.  Any further bleachings, utilize one of the take home tray bleaching systems.  This will allow you to adjust the amount of time you bleach to achieve a more comfortable result.  Your dentist can also dispense medications that desensitize your teeth before doing the bleaching.  Also, you might have to cut down the concentration of your bleaching get.

Anyway, dentists realize how frustrated this post bleaching pain is, albeit it is not the norm with most patients.  It should resolve shortly, but talk with your dentists about changing the protocol for you the next time you bleach because your teeth hyper reacted.

Norman Huefner, DDS
Laguna Niguel Dentist

Temporary Pain After Tooth Whitening


It is common to experience pain during and after tooth whitening, but it will go away after couple days.


Patients who have sensitive teeth to begin with or active decay, gum recession and enamel abrasion, will need to be placed on Fluoride regiment prior to whitening, and all the active decay areas have to be treated before the whitening treatment can begin. Take home bleaching with custom trays administered for 3-5 days is more effective and less sensitive then in-office intense Zoom whitening.


Arthur Kezian, DDS
Los Angeles Dentist
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Patient selection is key

We have never had such a problem. Patient selection is key. We do not Zoom patients with a lot of tissue recession, or sensitive teeth. Prior to treatment we ask all of this in detail and I personally review this with the patient along with helping them understand what result they may expect. Occasionally patients will need Motrin the first day but only that day.

Benjamin S. Fiss, DDS
Chicago Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

One year is too long for teeth whitening pain

Sensitivity is common with in-office whitening procedures. The sensitivity ranges from no sensitivity at all, to very sensitive.

In the office we do this procedure daily. If a patient becomes sensitive I have not seen it last more than 24 to 48 hours.

If sensitivity persists past that time there could have been underlying conditions that may have been triggered and I suggest seeing your dentist promptly.

The best remedy is an NSAID like Advil or Aleve. Typically our patients are given an NSAID before they leave and are instructed to take it before bed time. If symptoms do occur they typically do not occur directly after the procedure. Rather they occur multiple hours after the procedure. Taking the NSAID ahead of time may prevent the sensitivity from surfacing.

Ryan Sellinger, DMD
Manhattan Dentist

Pain with teeth whitening

If laser whitening is performed by your dentist, there is no pain.
Other options will result in sensitivity. However, the pain is caused by dessicating or overdrying out the tooth. This opens up the tubules, which are like pipelines to the nerve. However, there are always risk with teeth whitening, resulting in post-op sensitivity, but rare with laser whitening.

Sensitivity After Zoom Whitening

It is very common for patients to develop post operative sensitivity for 8-10 hours following any laser whitening procedure.  We typically give the patient  400-600mg of Advil prior to the procedure to keep the pain to a minimum.  Not everyone has sensitivity , but a good portion of patients do.  As far a your the person you read about being sensitive for a year, I doubt that this was from the whitening.  I have never had a patient have sensitivity even for 48 hours, much less a year.  

12 to 24 hours in most cases

Normally post-whitening sensitivity is worst the first few hours after the procedure and should gradually subside in 12 hours or less.  If it persists beyond that, there is likely gum recession and exposed roots of some of the teeth which makes them much more sensitive.  However if that is the case, the sensitivity should go away within a few days.

Michael Firouzian, DDS
Columbus Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Pain or sensitivity after whitening

Some patients note an increase in sensitivity during and/or after teeth whitening.  This condition is usually of short duration, lasting a day or two before returning to normal.  Using a tooth whitening product which contains fluoride can help reduce the risk of post whitening sensitivity.  Patients in our office who have a history of sensitivity prior to whitening are often instructed to use a high strength topical fluoride  for several days prior to and after the procedure to reduce or avoid sensitivity.

Overuse of whitening products can also cause sensitivity.  It is very important to follow the instructions of your dentist when using a take-home product or the manufacturers instructions on the over the counter products.  When used properly, tooth whitening products do a great job.  When used to excess, they have the potential to damage your teeth or make them very sensitive.

Marc Zive, DMD
Springfield Dentist

Tooth bleaching does NOT have to cause pain

In my personal experience, the Deep Bleaching system I use in my office with AcquaBrite bleach in the office and then having the patient do at home bleaching with Nite White, using the same custom trays, works incredibly well. Patients get at least 10 shades lighter in 2 weeks with no sensitivity in general. Even patients who have been told they can't whiten have had tremendous results with our protocol. One in office bleaching session just does not work to get long lasting, predictable results, as much as we all wish it would! And the light and the laser bleaching can often dry out the teeth which is the number one reason for sensitivity both during and after the visit. Yes, the teeth will look whiter at the end, but the color tends to rebound (darken) within a few days as the teeth rehydrate. Patients of mine who have had sensitive teeth for years have been able to finally get the smile of their dreams with our system. I've tried all the other ones out there as I've been bleaching teeth since 1998 and this is by far the most predictable and comfortable system I've ever used.

As with all other dental procedures, it's imperative that the dentist evaluate the patient and ensure that he/she is a good candidate for bleaching and what the expected results will be.

Gerilyn Alfe, DMD
Chicago Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

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.