Teeth Whitening Trouble

Thinking about getting your teeth whitened? There are a number of products available today both over the counter and through your dentist's office. But some say one method could leave you white, but sore.

Everyone wants whiter teeth, but for many, getting them bright can be a real pain.

Sometimes sensitivity to cold, cold drinks even cold air can be painful this time of year.

In fact, doctors say the most common side effect of bleaching teeth is sensitivity.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that more than half of all tooth-whitening patients experienced some tooth pain, 10 percent had moderate pain and four percent had severe pain.

There are a number of ways to bleach your teeth from the over the counter bleaching strips to bright lights and peroxide gels at the dentist's office.

The ADA's study focused on dentist-dispensed home whitening treatments.

Here's how it works: A patient visits a dentist and has a custom-fitted mouthpiece made. At home, the patient applies peroxide gel to the mouthpiece and wears it overnight. The study found that people with restorative dental work or receding gums experienced pain more often.

Other causes include aggressive tooth brushing while bleaching, the plastic mouthpiece rubbing against gums or peroxide gel coming in contact with gum tissue.

But, does all this pain mean the bleach is harmful? Doctors say bleaching gels are neutral pH and won't damage your teeth, so no, there's no evidence.

Many dentists can also slow down the treatment.

The study also points out that sensitivity isn't permanent. Once the treatment stops, the pain stops, too. Many experts say to see your dentist before you start any whitening treatment.