Does Teeth Whitening Cause Sensitivity?

Does Teeth Whitening Cause Sensitivity?

If you’re interested in treating yellow or stained teeth with teeth whitening in Kennewick or Richland from Midtown Dental Clinic, you may be wondering about side effects such as teeth sensitivity. In this blog, we’ll discuss everything you know about teeth whitening and sensitivity, how long it lasts, what you can do to deal with it, and more! 

Does Teeth Whitening Cause Teeth Sensitivity?

Yes. Teeth whitening causes mild teeth sensitivity in most patients, and this tends to be the most intense about 2-3 days after the whitening treatment is completed. However, those with more sensitive teeth or thin enamel may experience some sensitivity for up to 1-2 weeks after treatment.

At Midtown Dental Clinic, we use the latest whiteners and advanced treatment products to reduce sensitivity after your treatment, but it’s likely that your teeth will still be somewhat sensitive after your treatment. 

How Does Teeth Whitening Cause Sensitivity?

The precise cause is still unknown to dentists, but most scientists think that it has to do with small structures in your teeth called “dentinal microtubules.” 

These are extremely small, tube-like structures that connect the surface of your tooth to the nerves inside your tooth. Since the outer layers of your teeth have no nerves, these little tubes transmit sensations into your nerves so that you can feel things when you chew and bite. 

It’s thought that, when your teeth are whitened, your teeth become slightly weaker due to mineral loss, which is a common effect of whitening products. This, in turn, exposes the microtubules and makes them more sensitive to pressure, heat, cold, and other sensations. 

Then, as you continue to brush and care for your teeth, minerals are attracted back to your enamel and cover up the microtubules, returning your tooth sensitivity to normal levels. This would explain why most people only experience sensitivity for a few days after teeth whitening.

What Steps Can I Take To Deal With Teeth Whitening Sensitivity? 

Not sure how to deal with sensitivity caused by teeth whitening? Here are a few steps we recommend you take. 

1. Discuss existing sensitivity with your dentist before treatment – If your teeth are already very sensitive, make sure to discuss this with your dentist at Midtown Dental Clinic.

They may recommend a modification treatment plan to ensure your comfort, such as going through multiple whitening sessions with a lower-strength whitener rather than whitening your teeth completely in a single appointment.

2. Brush regularly after treatment & consider anti-sensitivity toothpaste – Make sure to brush consistently after treatment to strengthen your teeth. You may also benefit from using anti-sensitivity toothpaste like Sensodyne as you recover from your teeth whitening treatment.

3. Avoid foods & drinks that may worsen sensitivity – You should avoid very hot and cold foods and drinks, as well as foods that are very crunchy or tough, as these may cause more discomfort. 

Contact Midtown Dental Clinic To Learn More About Teeth Whitening

If you’d like to whiten your teeth in Southeast Washington, Midtown Dental Clinic is here to help. Contact our Kennewick or Richland location now to learn more about the process, discuss your cosmetic needs with an experienced dentist, and take the first steps toward a brighter smile. 


750 George Washington Way,
Richland, WA, Suite 1 99352

Office Hours

MON8:00 am - 5:00 pm

TUE8:00 am - 7:00 pm

WED - THU8:00 am - 5:00 pm

FRI7:00 am - 2:00 pm

SAT - SUNClosed