Category Archives: Tooth Sensitivity

Sedation Dentistry for Zoom Whitening?

I have extremely 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. My sister had in office teeth whitening and was out of commission for at least 2 days afterward as she said she’s never felt so much pain in her life; as if all of the nerves in her teeth were exposed. Since I know sensitivity is a problem for me, I’m wondering if the dentist will use sedation/anesthesia on me so I can make it through the procedure. Is that possible?

– Becky in Michigan


You are correct in our thoughts about the sensitivity factor associated with teeth whitening, especially in-office whitening such as Zoom whitening. 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. And of course if you feel any discomfort during the process, let your dentist know so they can discontinue use of the lamp.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

I hate my sensitive teeth.

My teeth are super sensitive because the roots are exposed. I can’t even brush my teeth near the gum line without irritation. I have tried many different toothpastes, but nothing seems to work. Do you know if there is anything that can be done to help?

– Paul in Florida


Root exposure and the sensitivity associated with it is terrible. I would meet with your dentist to explore your options. There is fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse that my be helpful. One kind of fluoride is made of sodium and if that one doesn’t work for you, there is another that is stannous based. The latter seems to be more popular among patients. Give this method a try and give it some time, approximately six weeks or so. If that is unsuccessful, there is a fluoride treatment that can be applied to the exposed roots. This can be done at a normal cleaning or checkup. This will likely not be covered under your dental insurance. But the fee is small. Relief from this treatment should last for about six months and can be reapplied when you go in for dental cleanings.

If you still haven’t found that these options work for you, it may be recommended that you have the root surfaces covered with white composite fillings. This should work almost immediately, but it is usually not the first route that dentists will try. Typically dental insurance will cover this treatment, but you will be responsible for a co-pay. Most patients don’t require any anesthetic for white fillings. A gentle dentistry technique is music or movies to distract you. Or if you are particularly anxious, many dentists offer everything from nitrous to sedation dentistry.

Hopefully this information was helpful.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.