Sensitive teeth and whitening: Tips to achieve a dazzling smile comfortably


Achieving a dazzling smile while also addressing sensitive teeth requires a combination of strategies but it is essential to prioritise the health of your teeth and gums while aiming for a brighter smile. Dealing with sensitive teeth can be a widespread issue that manifests as sharp, fleeting pain when consuming hot, cold or sugary foods and beverages and this sensitivity can make it difficult to attain a radiant smile, particularly when considering teeth whitening.

Sensitive teeth and whitening: Tips to achieve a dazzling smile comfortably (Photo by Amir Seilsepour on Unsplash)

However, a glowing smile is still achievable with a thoughtful approach and the right products. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Rajesh Shetty, Clinical Director at Dazzle Dental Clinic in Mumbai’s Bandra, shared, “First, it’s crucial to pinpoint the reason for your tooth sensitivity. Common factors include tooth decay, gum issues, eroded enamel, or exposed tooth roots. Addressing the root cause is imperative before venturing into any teeth whitening endeavours, as neglecting to do so may amplify your sensitivity and lead to further dental damage.”

When it comes to teeth whitening, multiple options exist. Dr Rajesh Shetty revealed, “The key is to select a method that is both mild and effective to prevent aggravating your sensitive teeth. Whitening toothpaste designed specifically for sensitive teeth is one such choice. These special toothpastes usually feature potassium nitrate, which eases nerve sensitivity, along with gentle abrasives that can eliminate surface discolouration over time. For those dealing with acute tooth sensitivity or who wish for professional-grade results, consulting a dental expert is advisable. Dental practitioners can administer in-office whitening treatments customised to your needs, often incorporating desensitising gels before or after the procedure. Custom-fitted whitening trays are also available for a more controlled and pleasant whitening experience.”

Apart from choosing suitable products, Dr Rajesh Shetty said that sustaining good oral hygiene practices is vital to both mitigate further sensitivity and maintain a radiant smile. He explained, “This entails brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush twice daily, flossing regularly, and rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash. Steering clear of acidic food and beverages, along with tobacco products, can also contribute to reduced tooth sensitivity and a longer-lasting white smile. A dazzling smile is attainable even with sensitive teeth, provided you adopt the right strategies and products. Dedicate time to uncover the root cause of your sensitivity, and deal with any foundational issues before diving into teeth whitening procedures. Opt for products designed with sensitive teeth in mind and consider seeking professional dental advice for more severe cases. Through diligent care and the right choices, you can enjoy a brilliant smile without sacrificing oral comfort.”

Bringing her expertise to the same, Dr Madhavi Shetty, Endodontist and Co-Founder of The Func Dent, elaborated upon a step-by-step guide to help you achieve a dazzling smile comfortably, even if you have sensitive teeth –

  • Consult a Dentist: Before undergoing any teeth whitening treatment, consult your dentist, especially if you have sensitive teeth. They can assess your oral health, determine the cause of sensitivity, and recommend the best approach for your situation.
  • Address Teeth Sensitivity First:
  1. Use a toothpaste specifically formulated for sensitive teeth which contain ingredients that help block sensations that cause sensitivity.

2. Avoid using toothbrushes with hard bristles. Choose a soft-bristle toothbrush and brush gently to prevent further enamel wear.

3. Consider using a fluoride mouthwash to help strengthen tooth enamel and reduce sensitivity.

4. If necessary, your dentist might suggest professional treatments like fluoride varnishes or desensitizing agents.

  • Professional Teeth Cleaning: Before starting any whitening regimen, ensure your teeth are clean and free from plaque and tartar by getting a professional dental cleaning.

Whitening Options For Sensitive Teeth

Dr Madhavi Shetty suggested –

  • In-Office Whitening: Dentists can perform in-office whitening treatments using methods that are adjusted for sensitivity. They can control the concentration of the whitening agent and provide desensitizing treatments as needed.
  • At-Home Whitening Kits: Some at-home whitening kits are formulated for sensitive teeth. These kits usually contain a lower concentration of whitening agents and may include desensitizing gels placed in a mouth guard.
  • Avoid Harsh Whitening Methods: While they are convenient, OTC whitening strips can cause more sensitivity due to the high concentration of bleaching agents. Even with sensitive-friendly products, limit the frequency of whitening treatments to once in 6 months, to prevent enamel damage and increased sensitivity.
  • Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: Regular brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash can help maintain your teeth’s health and appearance.
  • Limit Staining and Acidic Foods and Drinks: Coffee, tea, red wine, and dark-colored foods can stain your teeth. Limit their consumption to help maintain your whitening results.
  • Regular Dental Checkups: Maintain regular dental checkups to monitor your oral health and get professional advice on maintaining your dazzling smile.

Remember, achieving a dazzling smile should not come at the cost of your dental health. Prioritise your sensitivity concerns and work with your dentist to find the best approach for your individual needs.


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