Does Getting Professional Teeth Whitening Hurt?

If you have been longing for a white smile but are scared to undergo the process due to the thought of pain, we are here to bust the myth for real! Teeth whitening does not hurt a lot, albeit there might be some sensitivity; however, nothing too much that you cannot handle!

Is Teeth Whitening Painful?

Getting professional teeth whitening done can cause mild discomfort or sensitivity afterward. The procedure itself is pain-free.

Sensitivity After Teeth Whitening

Our professional teeth whitening session starts with a hydrogen peroxide gel applied to the teeth and then activated by laser light. This gel tears up stains and discoloration, all the while lightening your teeth’ enamel. Although the entire process is quite safe, the use of bleaching agents may cause some discomfort in the form of tooth sensitivity. However, not everyone experiences this, and the condition is manageable.

How To Manage Pain/Sensitivity After Teeth Whitening?

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Desensitizing Toothpaste
    You can manage sensitivity and the pain it brings by using a desensitizing toothpaste containing ingredients like potassium nitrate or hydroxyapatite. Start using it around 2 weeks before your professional whitening treatment so that it does not hurt and blocks pain signals from the nerves within.
  2. Gentle Brushing
    Choose a soft-bristled toothbrush and clean your teeth in gentle, circular motion with lukewarm water post-whitening. Avoid vigorous brushing to prevent further irritation to sensitive teeth.
  3. Avoid Food or Beverages of Extreme Temperatures
    Steer clear of foods and drinks that are too hot or cold and can trigger sensitivity. However, if you have to get a cold beverage after whitening, use a straw to prevent your teeth from hurting.
  4. Over-the-counter pain Relief Medications
    Do not worry if your pain threshold is not that high. You can get over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication to avoid significant discomfort.
  5. Fluoride Gel
    Ask your dentist to apply a high-concentration fluoride gel or varnish after teeth whitening to strengthen your enamel.
  6. Salt Water Rinse
    This concoction aids as an adjunct to other methods mentioned above. Its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activity make it a suitable helper in eliminating pain and sensitivity.

How Long Does Professional Teeth Whitening Take?

You can expect professional teeth whitening to take around 1-2 hours in-office. On the other hand, dentists make custom take-home whitening kits as well, and they may take anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks. Here are the details:

In-Office Whitening

  • Usually, in-office whitening treatments take 60-90 minutes.
  • Carbamide peroxide containing bleaching agent is applied to the teeth.
  • UV light further enhances and accelerates the work of whitening teeth.
  • Most people experience a lightening of 5-10 shades in this single session.

Take-Home Whitening Kits

  • Dentists design custom-fit trays that have a whitening gel in them.
  • The trays are worn for a few hours every day or overnight for up to 4 weeks.
  • Although at-home whitening cannot be compared with in-office treatments, it is certainly a good way to maintain the results of professional whitening treatments done in the office.

You can expect the results from a professional teeth whitening session to last anywhere between 6 months to 3 years. However, the exact time frame depends on the type of treatment and lifestyle choices.

Closing Note

In a nutshell, do not expect the process of teeth whitening to hurt. However, a mild level of sensitivity is a given post treatment, which is easily manageable. If you have any more questions, contact Nimmi Shine Dental at (858) 999-8550 for help.

Dr. Joseph Mara

Dr. Joseph Mara

For more than 19 years, Dr. Joseph Mara has been a leading dentist in San Diego, providing affordable, gentle, and honest dental care. Driven by a commitment to patient’s trust and satisfaction, he undergoes continuous education and specialized training in oral implantology and endodontics. At his practice – Nimmi Shine Dental, convenience and comfort are paramount. Utilizing advanced technology such as the Vatech PaX-i3D Scanner and Computer Guided Implant Surgery, the clinic emphasizes efficiency and overall patient well-being. Call us today at (858) 999-8550 to schedule a consultation with our expert dentist.


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