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Can You Get Teeth Whitening If You Have Cavities?

March 17, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — happyteeth @ 6:25 pm
close-up of a cavity

It seems like just about everyone is at least a little unhappy with the color of their smile, which is maybe why teeth whitening is such a popular cosmetic dental treatment. Within as little as a single appointment, your dentist can give you a smile up to eight shades whiter than the one you had before.

However, if you’re interested in getting teeth whitening, you need to treat cavities beforehand. If you want to know why that is, here’s a guide to how tooth decay can affect the process of getting teeth whitening.

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

First, it may be a good idea to explain how teeth whitening works. Your dentist will apply a bleaching solution to your teeth, typically consisting at least in part of hydrogen peroxide. Your dentist will then wait for around 15 minutes for the solution to take effect, and then remove it. They’ll continue this process until you get the perfectly white smile you’re looking for.

Can I Get Teeth Whitening If I Have Cavities?

If you have cavities, your dentist will not let you get teeth whitening treatment. The hydrogen peroxide that is often the key ingredient in bleaching solutions can be really irritating to your teeth, even under the best of circumstances. When it touches nerve tissue exposed by cavities, it can be incredibly uncomfortable.

Frankly, most dentists will recommend against teeth whitening if you have any level of decay, as even minor thinning of your enamel can intensify the irritating effect of the hydrogen peroxide.

What To Do Before Teeth Whitening

If you want to get a teeth whitening treatment, you’ll need to treat your cavities before you do. Your dentist would probably recommend that you get fillings to treat your cavities, as dental crowns won’t be affected by whitening treatment. As a result, you could wind up with one tooth that’s a different, darker color than your other ones.

Of course, that depends on how much decay you’re dealing with. You could need a crown to cover up your decay, or even a root canal if the problems are serious. You should see your dentist for a complete exam if you’re interested in teeth whitening.

About Our Practice

At Dr. Glen’s Happy Teeth, we pride ourselves on being able to offer your entire family everything they could need to get their smile into immaculate condition. We have three incredible dentists on staff, and a dental team that will make you feel respected and cared for every step of the way. No matter what you need, we can offer you the care that you deserve.

If you have any questions about teeth whitening, we can be reached at our website or by phone at (516) 517-0331.

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