Pros and Cons of Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening Santa Maria, CA

Various factors affect tooth color, including genetics, food and beverage choices, smoking, and medications. Stains can occur on the surface of the tooth or beneath the enamel. Surface stains are common, but stains can also occur due to changes within the tooth's material. Extrinsic stains are stains on the surface of the tooth, while intrinsic stains are below the surface.

Professional teeth whitening can remove stubborn stains and create a brilliant smile. Knowing the pros and cons of professional whitening can help patients make informed decisions about this popular dental treatment.

What are the pros of teeth whitening?

With professional whitening, dentists apply a gel containing up to 40% hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide onto the teeth before shining a heating lamp over them for about 20 minutes to break apart stubborn stains on underlying layers. This whitening method offers patients the following benefits.

Thorough and reliable whitening

Unlike at-home treatments, professionally-applied whitening agents address the underlying stains that topical solutions cannot reach. As a result, patients obtain significantly whiter teeth after a single treatment.

Fast results

Whitening patients' teeth involves a simple procedure that a dentist can perform in one visit for immediate results. Whereas individuals must wait weeks to achieve short-term results from home whitening kits, those who opt for treatment at a dental office can see a noticeable improvement as soon as one hour following the application of the whitener. These results can also last many months.

Improved self-esteem

Patients with discolored teeth often resist speaking or smiling to hide an unattractive mouth. Patients who opt for whitening procedures report improved self-esteem and the confidence to shine in any social or professional situation.

Long-lasting results

Typically, results from whitening procedures do not begin to fade until about six months after the process. However, whitening can last up to one year before additional touch-ups are necessary.

Improved oral health

The whitening formulas dentists apply to the teeth contain urea, which can neutralize the mouth's pH level, preventing bacteria and plaque from forming. Therefore, whitening contributes to healthy and beautiful teeth.

Fewer noticeable imperfections

People notice a set of stunning white teeth before they notice any other feature about them. When patients smile after tooth whitening, others may not notice any of the other imperfections in their mouth. For example, chips and cracks tend to not stand out as much with white teeth. After teeth whitening, some patients may not require other types of cosmetic work.

Custom treatment methods

Patients do not have to rely on one form of tooth whitening. Different stains may require different methods. For example, extrinsic stains may respond to a professional cleaning and whitening toothpaste. Intrinsic stains, on the other hand, may require bleaching. Age-related stains tend to have both types of stains because the dentin yellows over time, and the enamel becomes thinner. Professional, in-office whitening is ideal for age-related staining.

What are the cons of teeth whitening?

Although professional teeth whitening has numerous benefits, anyone who chooses this cosmetic procedure should understand its drawbacks. Discussing these with a knowledgeable dentist can help patients decide how to proceed.

Teeth sensitivity

Bleaching agents can cause slight demineralization of the teeth, exposing the dentinal tubules that connect to the roots' nerves and irritating them. As a result, teeth may feel sensitive during the days following the whitening procedure until the teeth remineralize.

Ineffective for some teeth

Artificial teeth and those treated with veneers, fillings, or bonding material will not respond to whitening efforts. Therefore, prosthetics added before whitening may require replacement to ensure a color match with newly-whitened teeth.

Temporary results

Teeth whitening procedures do not yield permanent results, and patients must schedule subsequent whitening sessions at least once annually. In addition, teeth remain vulnerable to all the factors that cause discoloration.


Professional whitening procedures yield fast results but can be costly over time compared with other cosmetic procedures. As a result, individuals must remember to refrain from enjoying certain staining foods and beverages to keep costs down.


Patients may struggle with stained teeth due to food, drinks, age, or biological factors. While there are various ways to stain your teeth, there are also various ways patients can whiten their teeth safely and effectively. A professional can determine the safest way to whiten a patient's teeth. Professional teeth whitening has many advantages, though patients should be aware of potential disadvantages. A knowledgeable dentist can determine patients' candidacy for this procedure.

Request an appointment here: or call Orcutt Hills Dental Studio at (805) 310-4332 for an appointment in our Santa Maria office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Teeth Whitening in Santa Maria, CA.

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