Tooth Talk: Paying the price for whiter teeth

Attacking sensitivity issues

Q: I just had my teeth whitened at my dentist office and I don’t think they changed much. Plus, now they are really sensitive, what can I do?

A: I’m sorry that you’re not happy with your whitening. This is something to look forward to so I understand how disappointing it is when the results are not to your liking.

The sensitivity you are experiencing however is fairly normal and should subside in a short period of time. If it doesn’t get better or worsens your dentist may need to put you on a fluoride or a desensitizer.

The whitening process is fairly straightforward and people are normally very happy with their new whiter and brighter smile. In order to achieve a successful outcome a thorough exam and consultation should be performed. At that visit the current shade of the teeth to be whitened should be taken and shared with the patient. The patients expectations should be thoroughly discussed and the doctor should review the possible outcome along with any adverse affects. Any medications taken should also be reviewed because some can react with the whitening process.

In some ways whitening can be compared with tanning. Someone who is fair skinned will not tan instantaneously whereas someone who has a darker skin tone will achieve the tan they want sooner. This is why your expectations are extremely important. Most men that whiten their teeth simply want to brighten their smile while more women want to go for that “Hollywood Smile.” In certain situations this may be difficult or even impossible to achieve. That is why you should be very clear about the results you expect to see. Similarly, your dentist should clearly explain your options and the two of you should discuss your expectations. If this is done there is little chance that you will be disappointed with the result.

There are many, many, many many types of whitening products out there and each one is applicable to a particular situation. For instance, in office whitening may not be able to get the job done alone. You may need multiple sessions or even a combination of in-office and at home whitening in order to achieve the outcome you want. It is also important to understand that tooth colored fillings and crowns will not lighten with any type of whitening process.

In addition, teeth that are certain shades or have specific types of staining require more intensive whitening treatment. I would suggest going back to your dentist to explain why you are unhappy. Most likely they will try to work with you. However, if the response you receive is not satisfactory then it may be best to seek a second opinion.

Questions can be sent to Fred Eck, D.D.S. at Marco Dental Care, 950 N. Collier Blvd., Suite 305, Marco Island; call 389-9400 or visit He received his Doctor of Dental Surgery at the University of Detroit Mercy and is licensed by the Florida State Board of Dentistry.

© 2008 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 0

Be the first to post a comment!

Share your thoughts

Comments are the sole responsibility of the person posting them. You agree not to post comments that are off topic, defamatory, obscene, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. Violators may be banned. Click here for our full user agreement.

Comments can be shared on Facebook and Yahoo!. Add both options by connecting your profiles.