Tackling sensitivity to improve patients’ whitening experience

Dental patients routinely seek tooth whitening as an aesthetic-based treatment. It does not require any biological cost (tooth preparation) and often leads to pleasing results.

Several factors affect the efficacy of tooth whitening, such as the material used, the application method, but importantly patient factors (Li and Greenwall, 2013).

Such factors include age, gender, initial tooth colour, but also the prevalence of inherent tooth sensitivity.

Although relatively transient and relatively moderate in severity, it is often a deterrent for many who wish to undertake whitening, but are worried due to previous, or current, sensitivity experience.

Reducing sensitivity

There have been several attempts to locally block dentinal tubules with toothpaste to subsequently minimise sensitivity.

This in itself is a slight paradox. On the one hand, tooth brushing removes the smear layer to expose tubules and exacerbate loss of dentine. Whilst the toothpaste attempts to deposit impermeable layers onto the dentine’s surface and attempts to block the tubules and minimise sensitivity (Addy and West, 2013).

However, a more recent improved toothpaste technology minimises the prevalence of tooth-related sensitivity (Colgate data on file).

Join Dr Shiraz as he discusses how the regime of introducing Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief toothpaste was non-other than beneficial to improving his patients’ whitening experience.


Addy M and West NX (2013) The role of toothpaste in the aetiology and treatment of dentine hypersensitivity. Monogr Oral Sci 23: 75-87

Li Y and Greenwall L (2013) Safety issues of tooth whitening using peroxide-based materials. Br Dent Journal 215(1): 29-34

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