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Understanding and Minimizing Sensitivity of Professional Tooth Whitening

16 February 2017   Jason C. Campbell DDS Cosmetic & Family Dentistry | Partner Content

What You Need to Know About the Latest Teeth Whitening Technology

Have you often thought about improving your smile and impression by whitening your teeth? Have you wondered what a professional tooth whitening procedure entails, and whether you are a good candidate? Our Prescott dentist office Jason C. Campbell, D.D.S., Cosmetic & Family Dentistry is here to help you answer those questions.

If your concern about tooth sensitivity is holding you back from brightening your smile, rest assured, the tooth whitening process has come a long way from its early origins when people relied on their barbers to treat dental issues and used metal files to remove the surface of discolored enamel! Luckily, the industry and early pioneers realized there were better ways to whiten and discovered the benefits, affordability and ease of using hydrogen peroxide—a mainstay in many tooth whitening procedures of today.

How does the whitening process work?

A bit of knowledge about the tooth whitening process will also help ease your mind. To better understand the whitening process, each tooth has multiple layers of biomaterial:

  • Enamel - the outside shell

  • Dentin - the softer material

  • Pulp Chamber - where nerve and blood vessels are found

If you cringe at the thought of nerves in your teeth, you’re not alone!  Dental tubules which extend from the pulp chamber toward the outer surface can stimulate nerve sensitivity when exposed to the outside environment, heightened when you bite something cold like ice-cream. We’ve all experienced that feeling, and endure the temporary pain.  Hydrogen peroxide, a substance used during many whitening procedures, opens the tubes to dissolve stains on the surface of the tooth.  It is when those tubes are exposed, that you will may feel a sensation. 

Another source of sensitivity is tooth dehydration. However, once the biomechanics of the tooth are established by the dentist, the amount of sensitivity can be reduced and, at times, be eliminated completely. If sensitivity occurs, it is transient as teeth typically rehydrate within 24 hours diminishing sensitivity.

Your dental professional will assure you that the procedure, in and of itself, rarely causes the sensitivity in your teeth, but can point to other dental issues such as tooth decay or periodontal disease, both of which can generally be treated. The best way to reduce sensitivity and ease your concerns about this procedure is to select a dentist who has established pre-whitening protocols, as we do in our practice, that take your complete dental health into consideration before the process begins. Our office has established those exact protocols with a four-appointment series, and we guide you every step of the way toward a better smile.

Professional In-House Teeth Whitening Process

At our practice, we start the ZOOM! Professional Whitening process with an Initial Appointment which includes:

  • Assess your current oral health
  • Assess the current shade of your teeth
  • Learn about your whitening/sensitivity history
  • Discuss your whitening goals
  • Take an impression of your teeth for customized mouth trays.
  • Develop a treatment plan to reduce the likelihood of sensitivity occurring

The Second Appointment allows us to fit customized trays to your mouth with detailed instructions for maintaining the trays at home. You’ll be provided with products that are essential to prepare teeth to receive the in-house dental whitening procedure and minimize sensitivity the next time you visit.

The Third Appointment is when the magic happens and the true whitening process begins! A whitening agent is applied to the tooth and then exposed to light from the ZOOM! lamp for 3 – 5 sessions of 15 minutes each.

The Fourth and final appointment is the pot of gold where the final tooth shade is determined and a happy and whiter smile awaits!

With our progressive ZOOM! Professional teeth whitening system, our patients report improved confidence and low levels of sensitivity when the process is complete. 

We would love to talk to you more about how the process will fit your specific needs when you take advantage of our special offer throughout the remainder of February, the official month of love.  Just mention this article before February 28, 2017, to receive our February ZOOM! Professional Teeth Whitening Offer with a savings of $100 off regular price. You can learn more at Call our office at 928-776-1208 today to schedule your initial appointment. You will be on our way to the benefits of a brighter, more brilliant smile!