Whitening Your Teeth at Home: Should Your Gums Hurt?

Posted on: 19 February 2020

Do you believe in the idea of no pain, no gain when it comes to some forms of self-improvement? It's the sort of thing a personal trainer might shout at you as you do sit-ups and your muscles feel like they're on fire. This is to be expected to some degree when it comes to exercise, but if your efforts to improve your appearance include teeth whitening, your gums shouldn't feel like they're on fire. Burning gums during teeth whitening are a clear sign that something isn't right.

Using a Home Kit

Irritation and pain as a result of teeth whitening are generally experienced when you use a home kit. You've applied the whitening gel into the applicator trays, you've put the trays in your mouth, and then you wait. Before the allotted time is up, your gums begin to tingle, which is not exactly pleasant. They might even begin to hurt. This should not be happening and is not a standard part of the process. If this happens to you, remove the applicator trays immediately, and gently rinse your mouth to thoroughly remove all the whitening gel. Why would this be happening though?

One Size Does Not Fit All

Many applicator trays are designed with 'one size fits all' in mind. This really isn't the case when it comes to the specific contours of your mouth. Ill-fitting trays encourage whitening gel to seep out, and the only real point of escape is that open top of the tray, meaning that the gel will be directly deposited onto your gums, causing this irritation and pain. So how can you prevent this from happening?

Alternatives to the Provided Applicator Tray

Instead of using the applicator tray that came with the whitening product, obtain one separately. This might be a heat-moldable tray that is placed in hot water to make it pliable before you insert it into your mouth for shaping. You could also ask your dentist to custom-make you an applicator tray. It can also be prudent to reduce the amount of whitening gel you apply to the tray to reduce the possibility of seepage. Of course, you can overcome this issue altogether by having your dentist perform your whitening treatments, with you maintaining the effect at home by using whitening strips and/or whitening toothpaste.

Sure, no pain, no gain might be applicable for exercise — sometimes. But it really shouldn't be happening when you whiten your teeth. For more information about teeth whitening, speak to your dentist.