Will Zoom whitening hurt? What if you have sensitive teeth?

I never really had any cavities or dental work, but severe sensitivity has always been a problem. I am having Zoom whitening done next week and I’m so afraid about the pain factor as I’ve heard you can get very sensitive afterward. I’m wondering if the dentist will use sedation/anesthesia on me so I can make it through the procedure. Is that possible?

Lacey Q. – California


You are correct in our thoughts about the sensitivity factor associated with teeth whitening, especially in-office whitening such as Zoom. However, sedation dentistry is generally reserved for restorative work, or children (and adults) who may need that something extra to keep them relaxed during procedures. While sedation dentistry will put you in a relaxed, comfortable state allowing you to feel no pain, it would be a waste during a procedure like whitening. First, Zoom is painless while it’s being done. The “pain” you are referring to is actually sensitivity, as the whitening process tends to dehydrate your teeth making them quite sensitive; an effect you may feel more so if you have sensitivity to begin with.

This sensitivity usually happens after the procedure. So while you may feel some zings here and there while under the lamp, the bulk of sensitivity will come the following 24-48 hrs. The best you can do is plan ahead by trying to desensitize your teeth with a fluoride rich toothpaste/mouthwash or something your dentist can prescribe. Doing this for a while prior to the appointment can help. You’re also free to take over the counter pain relief.

I’m sorry this is probably not the answer you wanted, but if you’re looking for a white smile, you might find the bright, sparkling chompers worth a few days of sensitivity.

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