Gum Health and Sensitivity
Healthy gums are essential for healthy teeth. Gum recession is one of the leading causes of tooth sensitivity. Overly frequent or aggressive tooth brushing, long term gum disease (gingivitis or periodontal disease) and even aging can contribute to gum recession. As the gums recede, the underlying dentin can gradually become exposed over time.
Do Tooth Whitening Treatments Cause Sensitivity?
The sensitivity which can be experienced during and after professional whitening treatments is different from dentin hypersensitivity. Dentin hypersensitivity is a common and painful condition of the teeth which can arise when the dentin of the tooth becomes exposed (typically as a result of gingival recession or tooth wear). However, in the case of whitening treatments, the bleaching component of the treatments is believed to penetrate the tooth, causing sensitivity.
Clinical studies indicate that toothpastes containing potassium nitrate can reduce the sensitivity associated with professional whitening procedures. In the study, subjects using Sensodyne® with potassium nitrate for two weeks prior to, and during whitening treatment experienced less sensitivity post treatment, compared to those using a regular fluoride toothpaste.
Speak to your dentist about bleaching-related sensitivity if you are considering having a tooth whitening treatment.