Are your teeth sensitive when whitening with a gel? Here’s WHY, and WHAT you can do about it.


Are your teeth sensitive when you use teeth whitening gel?  Here’s WHY, and WHAT you can do about it.

Teeth are covered in tiny pores that lead down long canals, all the way to the nerve in our tooth. It’s designed to help us detect when we’re eating foods that are harmful to our tooth.  The cover photo is a highly magnified picture of the inner layer of our teeth, dentin.


Porous tooth structure causes tooth sensitivity.

Most sensitivity products contains ingredients that ‘numb’ these exposed tubules. However, bacteria causing decay can still enter these pores.


Tooth enamel ends at the gum line, but most adults (over 18) have areas where their gums have shrunken away, exposing the root of your tooth. The tooth root completely lacks enamel, and leaves those tiny pores completely exposed.  The result? Bleach reaches the inside of your tooth and IT HURTS. 

Whitening gel on exposed roots can make whitening painful and force people to “tap out” before the gel can work.

Whitening gel on exposed roots can make whitening painful and force people to “tap out” before the gel can work.


I have discussed teeth whitening sensitivity with thousands of patients, and here are some TIPS that may help you understand what’s happening & improve your chances of whitening your SMILE.

You have to learn what is tooth and what is root. Next time you’re at our office; ask anyone to show you where your gums have shrunken away, and where the root is exposed.  Almost all adults have exposed roots, but only 50% are sensitive. I’m one of them.

You have to control the whitening gel and prevent it from reaching those exposed roots. READ our Teeth Whitening Tips Blog and see how.

You can switch to a lower concentration whitening gel.  Read Our Blog on Teeth Whitening Products to learn how to figure out what concentration you are using.

You can try to cover your exposed roots if you are a severe case. Vaseline works great out of a tiny tube. Remember those tiny Vaseline lip balm products?  

You can use sensitivity tooth paste for a couple weeks before and while you are whitening your teeth. There are some industrial strength fluoride tooth pastes that we will raffle soon.

Avoid extremely hot and cold drinks/foods, and use a straw. You shouldn’t be splashing wine and coffee all over those teeth while whitening, anyway.

You can use OraJel before whitening. A word of caution that people with sensitive teeth will probably feel even more sensitivity after so be prepared for a couple days of ibuprofen or Advil after.

You can avoid foods that cause sensitivity while whitening.  Click here for a list.

You may just be feeling the gel on your gums. The gums WILL grow back, but defintely avoid contact with gums as the pain may force you to “tap out” before your teeth whiten.

Taken all these measures, and still sensitive????  There’s a reason why. And it treatable too! Learn more on our next Blog.