Gum Health and Sensitivity
Healthy gums are essential for healthy teeth. Gum recession is one of the leading causes of tooth sensitivity. Brushing too often or too hard, 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 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 receding gums 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 research indicate that toothpastes containing potassium nitrate can reduce the sensitivity associated with professional whitening procedures. In these studies, subjects using Sensodyne® with potassium nitrate for two weeks before and during a whitening treatment experienced less sensitivity afterward, compared to those using a regular fluoride toothpaste.
Speak to your dentist about bleaching-related sensitivity if you're considering having a tooth whitening treatment.