Why do my teeth hurt after getting Zoom whitening done? I didn’t anticipate not being able to eat normally, drink, or heck – even breathe after getting the treatment. Is there something wrong or did my dentist mess up? What is going on? The tooth pain is so intense I’m considering going to urgent care to see if they can do anything. My dentist is gone for the week and I’m left feeling helpless.
– Vic in California
Sorry to hear you are having a difficult time after Zoom whitening. Do you typically have sensitive teeth? From the sounds of it, there is a good chance that you do. And for someone that does have sensitive teeth, this is pretty common. The pain should only be temporary and can be managed. It is surprising that your dentist didn’t prepare you for this possibility, especially if you have sensitive teeth.
Your teeth are covered in tiny, microscopic pores or what are referred to as tubules. These pores were opened during the Zoom whitening process so that the whitening agent could penetrate deep into the teeth. It is not uncommon for sensitivity to occur after any teeth whitening treatment for a couple of days following the appointment. Since these tubules were opened, this also means that anything else that you expose your teeth to may irritate the teeth and cause some pain. That is because the food, drink, or even your breath as you mentioned, is reaching the inside of your teeth. It is also important to avoid anything that may cause immediate staining like tea, red wine, and berries for several days immediately following the whitening appointment. All that to be said, some people have more sensitivity than others. Others won’t even notice anything out of the ordinary.
Here is what you can do to manage the discomfort.
- Take an over-the-counter ibuprofen or pain reliever as needed for a couple days.
- Do your best to breathe using your nose instead of your mouth.
- Drinking from a straw will help.
- Avoid extreme hot or cold food and drink.
- A fluoride rinse can be used to reduce tooth sensitivity. Although, this is typically more effective when it is started prior to getting Zoom done.
In rare instances, patients may have another dental problem that is causing the pain. If the pulp of the tooth is inflamed than you may be dealing with the pain for a longer period of time, up to two weeks. The treatment for this condition is similar. But if the pain doesn’t subside within a few days, call your dentist. They will be able to check you out to make sure there isn’t anything else going on that is causing your discomfort. If the dentist is out of town, there should be another back-up number to call.
As always, if the tooth pain is waking you up at night or is too intense to handle, contact your dentist right away. Professional treatment may include a stronger pain medication or desensitizing treatment.
Thank you for your question.