Now it is easier than ever to remove unsightly stains from teeth in order to achieve a luminous smile through a common cosmetic dentistry procedure known as teeth whitening. However, Livingston patients may notice certain undesired side effects after whitening their teeth. Fortunately, most side effects are minor and temporary. Potential Teeth Whitening Side Effects Tooth sensitivity: The most common side effect of tooth whitening is increased tooth sensitivity. As high as 65 percent of tooth whitening patients report experiencing this side effect. This heightened sensation in the teeth is generally noticed either during or immediately following the teeth whitening procedure. To avoid or minimize tooth sensitivity during and after whitening, talk to your cosmetic dentist to learn about brands that contain ingredients that are less harsh on the teeth. Soft tissue irritation: This side effect occurs when the whitening solution contains high levels of concentrated hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide that comes in contact with the gums during whitening. The affected area of the tissue will sting and appear white. Prolonged exposure of the whitening solution may result in redness and inflammation of the gums, and extreme cases may result in bleeding and pain. Fortunately, in most cases, the tissue generally returns to its normal state shortly after whitening. Undesirable results: Certain teeth whitening patients, such as those who have heavily stained teeth or those who suffer from internal tooth discoloration, may not notice a change in the whiteness of their teeth after completing the procedure and may require additional treatments in order to achieve their desired shade. Other patients may notice that their teeth begin to appear grey or translucent. Tips for Reducing Teeth Whitening Sensitivity Don’t overuse: While some patients may be tempted to continually blast their pearly whites, it is important not to over-whiten. Doing so may cause permanent damage to the enamel and may also result in a grey shade or even translucence. It is important to adhere to your dentist’s instructions, or if you whiten at home, closely follow the instructions on the whitening kit. Use sensitivity-friendly products: Ask your dentist to recommend whitening products that contain a lower peroxide concentration. You may also try using sensitivity-reducing toothpaste in place of your regular toothpaste until your discomfort subsides. Try over-the-counter painkillers: Taking a common pain reliever such as ibuprofen before and after your teeth whitening sessions may help alleviate sensitivity. When in doubt, always check with your dentist to see what products you should be using and which procedures you should be following in order to achieve your best whitening results with minimal discomfort. Learn More about Teeth Whitening Side Effects Having a beautiful, white smile is important but should not come at the cost of sensitivity, pain, discomfort, or less than ideal results. The best way to ensure you get the smile you desire is to have your teeth whitened by a professional and capable cosmetic dentist. To learn more about how to avoid teeth whitening side effects and achieve your best smile yet, schedule an appointment with Drs. Gary and David Silverstrom of The Silverstrom Group today.