Duration and timing of sensitivity related to bleaching

William D. Browning, John S. Blalock, Kevin B. Frazier, Mary C. Downey, Michael L. Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Problem: Reports of sensitivity vary greatly from one study to another, probably because studies are small. Generally, only the percentage of subjects is reported. Purpose: This study reports sensitivity using a large database. We investigated the source, duration, and timing of sensitivity during 14 days of active bleaching. Materials and Methods: One hundred and seventy-two people recorded sensitivity from any of the five sources on a daily basis. Results: No one withdrew from the study because of sensitivity. Forty-seven percent of participants experienced sensitivity. Seventy-seven percent had sensitivity of 3 or fewer days. Temperature sensitivity tended to occur later in the 14-day bleaching cycle, and hot and cold sensitivity tended to occur together. Conclusions: There was great variability in sensitivity levels from person to person. Temperature sensitivity tended to occur later in the active phase of bleaching, whereas irritation of the tongue tended to occur earlier. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE The results from a large group of people are more likely to include a wide cross-section of the population sampled. This data provides practitioners with a better estimate of what their patients are likely to experience. It is estimated that, during 2 weeks of active bleaching, 77% of people will experience 3 or fewer days of sensitivity. On average, sensitivity is short-lived, thus making it is easy to underestimate the importance of discussing sensitivity with patients considering bleaching. However, for some, the duration of sensitivity is much greater and has a very negative impact on satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-264
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Esthetic and Restorative Dentistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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