According to the Australian Dental Association, the bleaching agents in some tooth whitening procedures may make your teeth more sensitive than usual.  Although typically temporary, this side effect may affect your ability to eat and drink comfortably for a while. If your teeth become more sensitive after a bleaching treatment, it may be a good idea to take some extra care until they get back to normal.

Change Your Toothpaste

If your teeth are more sensitive after whitening, it's a good idea to change to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. This will make it easier for you to clean your teeth correctly; it may also help decrease their sensitivity during the first few days after a bleaching treatment. Alternatively, you can try using a tooth mousse product, which may also minimise sensitivity side effects, according to CHOICE Australia.

Be Careful What You Eat or Drink

If your teeth become more sensitive, you may not be able to tolerate very cold or very hot drinks or food. You can't tell what will make you wince until you try something. For example, some people only notice sensitivity with cold food or drink; others also find it painful when they eat or drink very hot stuff.  To be on the safe side, it's best to stay lukewarm. If your teeth feel a bit sensitive when you chew, you should avoid hard foods and stick to softer ones.

Give Tooth Whitening Treatments a Rest

If you're using an at-home bleaching treatment that you apply in stages, it may be an idea to give the treatment a rest for a few days if your teeth become over-sensitive. If you carry on bleaching, you may just make the sensitivity worse. If you're having staged treatment through your dentist, be sure to mention your sensitivity problems to your dentist.

Warning: If you're applying an over the counter tooth whitening product, make sure that it is safe to use. According to CHOICE Australia, only dentists are allowed to use treatments that contain more than 6% of hydrogen peroxide or 18% of carbamide peroxide. If you want a higher strength power whitening treatment, you should consult your dentist.

What If Your Teeth Stay Sensitive?

Tooth sensitivity is usually a temporary side effect of tooth whitening; however, some people's teeth do become more sensitive permanently. If your sensitivity doesn't start to recede after a few days, or if your gums and teeth hurt or seem damaged after a treatment, you should contact your dentist for advice.