Teeth whitening treatments are becoming increasingly popular, and the results can provide you with a brighter smile. Teeth whitening can improve the appearance of your smile, although people with sensitive teeth tend to stay away from these treatments for fear that they may make matters worse. 

Thanks to new technology, dentists can now offer different whitening options to their patients, and even those with sensitive teeth can consider teeth whitening treatments. 

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

  • Gingivitis
  • Cracked Teeth
  • Periodontitis
  • Receding Gums
  • Thin Tooth Enamel
  • Teeth Grinding
  • Poor Diet
  • Brushing Habits

These factors can cause sensitive teeth, and caring for them can sometimes be challenging. You should speak to your dentist before using a whitening product because they can provide professional tips and recommendations regarding your smile. Whitening agents like peroxide, for example, will penetrate the tooth enamel, and sensitive teeth can become easily irritated, aggravating the nerves and gums. 

Your dentist will assess your dental history to determine which whitening treatment is best for you. If you have gum disease or cavities related to teeth sensitivity, a dentist may not recommend whitening treatments and will discuss why whitening may not be an option. They may recommend other options like fluoride rinses, gels, varnishes and certain types of toothpaste that can help with sensitivity and open the potential for whitening in the future.

If your teeth are deemed healthy enough to handle whitening, your dentist will discuss the best treatment options for your smile. 

How Does Whitening Work?

Before you consider whitening options for sensitive teeth, it’s important to understand how the process works. Most teeth whitening treatments contain a bleaching agent that will whiten the shade of your teeth. Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are the two main types of bleaching gels, and the amount of peroxide will vary from one treatment to another. 

If you prefer to brighten your smile without using bleach, you can consider toothpaste containing chemicals and polishing agents that can help lift stains and discoloration. Having your teeth professionally cleaned by your dentist will help remove surface stains from your teeth, and you will have visibly whiter teeth after just one or two sessions.

Solutions for Sensitive Teeth

Every patient is unique, and not all whitening solutions will work the same. Patients with sensitive teeth can consider the following:

Professional Whitening Treatments

This is a more expensive option, although it is generally safer and is ideal for those with sensitive teeth. Professional whitening treatments are very effective, and the results will last longer than at-home treatments. The procedure will remove stains, and your dentist will monitor the process carefully to ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy. The dentist may use desensitizers and gels to alleviate irritation while whitening your teeth.

Less Effective: At-Home Teeth Whitening Kits

This is a cost-effective way to improve your smile. If you have sensitive teeth, you must focus on brands that offer specially formulated, over-the-counter products to provide customers with a comfortable and gentle experience. 

Always check the ingredients before you buy an at-home whitening product because those with sensitive teeth may experience irritation with certain ingredients or formulas. You can also consider applying the product for a shorter period, as less exposure time may help minimize irritation for sensitive teeth. Finally, choose products made specifically for sensitive teeth, as these contain ingredients that will help reduce irritation and inflammation. 


Your teeth may be too stained or simply too sensitive for whitening. In these cases, your dentist may suggest veneers created using porcelain or resin-composite. Porcelain veneers are designed to fit over each tooth and are strong and stain-resistant. Composite resin veneers are made of a tooth-coloured material that is bonded to each tooth, and those with very sensitive teeth may benefit from this option because composite-resin veneers require less tooth enamel for placement. 

Regardless of which whitening solution you are interested in, it is highly recommended that you first speak to your dentist, especially before starting any at-home whitening programs. Patients with sensitive teeth may have different requirements and needs, and a dentist will discuss which products are best in these situations. Some can irritate sensitive teeth easily, and you must read the labels and follow the directions carefully to look for warnings about teeth sensitivity. 


Do you have sensitive teeth but want to start a whitening routine? Contact Tavistock Family Dentistry for more information. After examining your mouth, we will discuss the best options and answer all your questions regarding whitening products and how you can achieve a brighter smile. 

If you are looking for a dentist near you in Tavistock, we are currently accepting new patients and will help you find the right solutions for sensitive teeth.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!