Why Are Your Gums Painful During Teeth Whitening?

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As you gently squeeze the whitening solution onto the applicator tray, you can eagerly imagine the results—  you'll soon have a dazzling white smile, just like all the teeth whitening advertisements have promised. Once you slot the applicator trays onto your teeth, all you need to do is wait. However, you may find that your gums start to tingle. That tingling can easily turn to discomfort and pain. If you are experiencing this, here's what you should know.  

Discomfort or Pain 

Some mild discomfort affecting your gums can be quite usual when you whiten your teeth. However, there's a difference between discomfort and pain. Why are you having this unwanted reaction to the treatment? And does this mean that you can't whiten your teeth?

The Existing Condition of Your Teeth

Over-the-counter whitening treatments are marketed as safe and easy, and something that can easily be achieved at home. The results can vary, and positive results are partially dependent on your teeth being in a good condition prior to the treatment. You might attempt to overcome the issue by using less whitening solution, or by wearing the applicator trays for a reduced period of time. However, the session may still result in pain. The fact that your gums are hurting can indicate that you're not currently a good candidate for teeth whitening treatment. 

Dental Check-ups

How long has it been since you had a dental check-up? You should be seeing your dentist around twice yearly, but you might be amongst the two million Australians who don't see their dentist on a regular basis. Skipping those appointments can make you more susceptible to gingivitis, which is a bacterial inflammation of your gum tissues due to an accumulation of plaque and tartar (which would have been removed by your dentist). 

Professional Assistance

If you're experiencing gum pain during a whitening treatment and it's been too long since you saw your dentist, you need to do something about this. Addressing your gingivitis is likely to reduce your sensitivity to the active ingredient (hydrogen peroxide) used in whitening treatments. Alternatively, your dentist can perform the whitening treatment for you, and the results are likely to be more defined, with your dentist available to manage any recurrence of your discomfort. 

If you experience gum pain while whitening your teeth, you must discontinue treatment immediately. There's a cause for this reaction, and it's important that you see your dentist to have this cause addressed. Contact a dentist for more information.