Multiple factors make teeth lose their white, bright sparkle and appear dull. From foods and beverages to plaque buildup and smoking, there is an endless list of the possible reasons why your teeth are discolored. Depending on the type of discoloration, you could make your dental one shade brighter by using cleaning and whitening remedies. However, professional teeth whitening in Carson, CA, is the best approach if you want to benefit from long-lasting solutions. At Washington Dental, we use simple yet effective methods to give our clients a brighter and cleaner smile,

There are numerous cosmetic options we can employ to improve the aesthetics of your smile. For instance, we could use porcelain veneers or dental bonding to hide different aesthetic flaws. If your teeth are in relatively good shape and you simply need to make your teeth appear vibrant or a shade lighter, the best cosmetic procedure to consider is professional teeth whitening.

Teeth Whitening Defined

Discolored teeth can be bleached using a variety of methods. Readily available products like whitening toothpaste and mouthwash can help remove surface stains. However, through professional teeth whitening, you can lighten the color of your teeth without tampering with the tooth surface. While it may not be possible to make a drastic color change, a procedure can lighten the current shade of your dental.

Am I An Ideal Candidate For Teeth Whitening?

People are different in not just their type and color of hair and skin and their teeth. While some people have natural pearl white teeth, others have a dental prone to staining and losing its sparkle over time. Whether you suffer from extrinsic or intrinsic staining (inside or outside tooth stains), a reliable cosmetic dentist can recommend the ideal teeth whitening techniques to give you a brilliant smile.

Not everyone makes a good candidate for professional teeth whitening. If you have serious dental discoloration or intrinsic stains, for instance, your cosmetic dentist may recommend dental bonding or porcelain veneers.

Here are other reasons why professional teeth whitening may not be ideal for you:

  • You have had restorative dentistry in the past, and your teeth have veneers, crowns, or fillings.
  • You have had multiple teeth whitening sessions with little success
  • Your teeth are sensitive
  • You are a pregnant or lactating mother
  • You are under 16 years of age
  • You are allergic to teeth bleaching and whitening agents such as peroxide
  • You suffer from periodontal disease or have dental flaws such as exposed roots or cavities

Professional teeth whitening procedures are highly sought after because they have few inherent risks. While this is the case, you may not be satisfied with the treatment outcome if you have the above concerns.

Professional Teeth Whitening: What a Procedure Fixes

Professional teeth whitening can help you get rid of dental stains or reduce discoloration. While a procedure is not guaranteed to leave you with snow-white teeth, you can at least look forward to enjoying a brighter smile. This is as long as the stains are in or within the outer layer of your enamel.

Here is what a cosmetic dentist can or cannot fix through professional teeth whitening:

Intrinsic Stains

These are deep stains found underneath the enamel or within the inner dentin tissue. This makes it nearly impossible for a dentist to reach the stains and clean them out during professional teeth whitening. If you have intrinsic dental stains, you can brighten your smile through other systems such as porcelain veneers.

Extrinsic Stains

These are surface stains mainly located on the enamel. If you have this type of dental discoloration, you can improve the appearance of your smile substantially through professional whitening procedures.

Through specialized examinations, your cosmetic dentist can find out your type of teeth discoloration. Irrespective of whether you have intrinsic or extrinsic stains, you can explore numerous excellent cosmetic dentistry options.

Common Causes of Stained Teeth

Often, people don’t notice the process of their teeth changing shades. Discoloration happens gradually, and you may only realize that you need teeth whitening at that moment when you need to look your best during a special occasion.

Here are the most common causes of dental discoloration:


Highly pigmented foods like berries and tomatoes are notorious for causing dental staining. Also, high sugar diets like popsicles and candies can cause your teeth to yellow over time. Additionally, simple carbohydrates are known to encourage bacteria build-up, which may also cause your teeth to discolor.


There are a variety of beverages that can change the color of your teeth. They include black tea, coffee, sports drinks, colas, and red wine, just to mention a few. You can prevent staining by rinsing with quality mouthwash after consuming these drinks.


A good reason to quit smoking is for you to protect the good looks of your smile. Cigarettes and cigars can gradually turn your teeth brown. Dental discoloration can also happen because of chewing tobacco.


Certain medications can cause your teeth to darken. For instance, some antibiotics can turn your teeth from white or cream to a gray-brown color. The teeth of children under the age of 8 years can darken because of medications such as tetracycline and doxycycline. Also, antihistamines for blood pressure and antipsychotic medications cause dental staining in adults.


Sometimes, an illness can cause oral concerns, including teeth discoloration. For example, cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy or chemotherapy may find that their teeth are more brownish after treatment.

Tooth Trauma

If an incident doesn’t knock your tooth out, the impacted tooth may change color because of the shock. Tooth trauma can change an adult’s tooth to black or gray and a child’s tooth to brown or yellow. It is crucial to see your dentist immediately for a checkup if you suspect you have suffered tooth trauma.


Some people simply have teeth that are more prone to staining. Others have inherently yellow teeth. In this case, regularly using a whitening toothpaste, strips and mouthwash can help brighten your smile.


Age can take a toll on every part of your body, including your teeth. Your dental may appear more yellow as part of the natural process of aging. The enamel becomes thinner as you grow older, and this makes the yellow dentin more apparent.

Excessive Fluoride

Overexposure to fluoride is also notorious for causing dental discoloration. Often, if you over-consume fluoridated supplements, juices, or water, you may start to notice the staining as a teen or young adult.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Tooth decay and plaque buildup can make your dental look stained and unsightly. You can prevent or slow down the process of teeth discoloration by brushing, flossing, and rinsing with quality mouthwash for two minutes, twice daily.

Three Main Types of Teeth Whitening

Whitening your teeth can give you a brighter smile, make you look younger, and make it effortless for you to give an impression of happiness, warmth, vitality, and radiant health. There are various teeth whitening systems and treatments that could give you those pearly whites you have always wanted. It is essential to know your options to make an informed choice.

Let’s have a look at the three main types of teeth whitening:

Internal Bleaching

The internal bleaching method is ideal for whitening teeth that have been stained because of an infection or trauma. In this case, you may need to schedule several appointments and treatment may involve a root canal procedure.

Depending on the level of discoloration and its cause, your cosmetic dentist may decide to “over-whiten” the stained tooth. This helps to compensate in case of a relapse. It is also vital to understand that sometimes, the newly whitened teeth may remain a shade or two darker, even after internal bleaching. However, a procedure will make it appear so much better.

Take-Home Whitening kits

This method is ideal for patients with relatively sensitive teeth. Your cosmetic dentist will customize a tray molded uniquely for your mouth, and you can use as much or as little whitening gel as you please. This method of dental whitening gives you control over the level of whitening achieved. For the best outcome, you may have to use your kit for one or two weeks.

In-Office Teeth Whitening

If you want to easily and quickly brighten your smile, this is the ideal treatment to consider. In-office teeth whitening procedures, also referred to as deep bleaching, are done by a dentist, and you can enjoy pearly white teeth in an hour or two.

The downside to this method is that it causes increased tooth sensitivity. However, the sensitivity gradually subsides within a week or a few days. You can even accelerate being rid of the sensitivity by using special tubes of toothpaste. Skilled dentists use advanced whitening systems such as Zoom, Boost, BriteSmile, and Opalescence Boost to achieve excellent results without damaging the tooth’s enamel.

Professional teeth whitening procedures offer the best results. Even so, the color of your newly whitened teeth may gradually relapse. This makes it crucial to schedule touch-ups whenever necessary.

In-Office Teeth Whitening Pros and Cons

Professional teeth whitening can help you reinvigorate the aesthetics of your smile. This is by far the most popular procedure performed by cosmetic dentists. One thing that makes in-office teeth whitening highly effective is that procedures take place under monitored conditions. This allows a dentist to use highly concentrated bleaching agents and still ensure a safe and pain-free experience. The best part is that the outcome of treatment is visible immediately.


  • This is by far the safest teeth whitening method
  • Results are immediate and long-lasting
  • The use of thicker peroxide gels ensures less sensitivity


  • Costly compared to other methods such as take-home kits
  • Factors such as genetics, age, and type of staining make the outcome unpredictable
  • Your teeth may still accumulate stains over time

Steps for In-Office Teeth Whitening

In-office teeth whitening is a multi-phase procedure that can remove even the most stubborn stains caused by fluorosis or medications.

Here is what typically happens during treatment:

Step 1

When you meet your cosmetic dentist for an initial consultation, he/she will first want to have an in-depth understanding of the state of your teeth. This will help establish whether you make a good candidate for professional teeth whitening. If you are, the expert will proceed to have highly detailed impressions of your teeth and gum line.

The impressions of your dental are custom-fabricated to ensure they fit perfectly into your mouth. They resemble the aligners used by orthodontists, but they have vinyl trays containing bleaching-gel reservoirs.

With a perfect fit that compresses perfectly up to your gum line, your dentist can use highly concentrated bleach without the risk of the gel spilling out and mixing with saliva or causing gum irritation. This phase of the procedure typically takes about half an hour.

Step 2

As aforementioned, the outcome of in-office teeth whitening is immediate. However, it is vital to attend other appointments to ensure the outcome of treatment is more permanent.

During your second visit, your dentist will perform a conditioning procedure. This is different from teeth whitening, and it is meant to make your teeth more permeable to oxygen.

The first step is to polish your teeth with pumice powder. Your dentist will then apply two coats of a desensitizing-conditioning agent and rub it gently on the teeth. Next is to add 9% hydrogen peroxide gel into your custom-made bleaching trays and press them onto your teeth.

Custom-made trays protect your gums from irritation. This makes it unnecessary to use rubber dams or retractors, although dentists may recommend using them if you have overly sensitive gums. You will need to wear the trays for about 20 minutes before they are removed. Your dentist will then reapply two coats of a desensitizer and again rub the conditioning agent on your teeth. The whole session will take about one hour.

Step 3

The third step is simple. It involves receiving a home kit that contains your trays, a tooth desensitizer, and carbamide peroxide gel. You will need to use this kit for about two consecutive weeks. Usually, dentists recommend using the home kit when you sleep because saliva flow is minimal. This ensures that your saliva doesn’t interrupt the bleaching process.

Before you receive your kit, your dentist will teach you how to use each item/product for maximum impact. Remember that following your dentist’s recommendations to the latter will help ensure that your newly bleached teeth remain permeable to oxygen.

Step 4

Using your home kit for 14 consecutive days will make your teeth more receptive to the oxygenating impact of bleach. Your dentist will perform the standard power bleaching session during your fourth appointment and use retractors or rubber dams. Your dentist may again use 9% hydrogen peroxide solution or 27% during this session, depending on how deeply you need your teeth bleached.

This is often the last phase of in-office teeth whitening, and your dentist will bleach your dental to its maximum whiteness. A session may take approximately 60 minutes.

Step 5

The last step is to ensure you maintain the maximum whiteness of your newly bleached teeth. Your dentist will provide a kit with trays that you can use overnight for 1 to 3 months.

It remains imperative to follow the directives of your dentist to the latter. This will help ensure that the outcome of whitening treatments is more permanent.

Teeth Whitening Aftercare Tips

Teeth whitening treatments are often not covered by insurance. This means that your quest to brighten your smile may be tough on your wallet. One of the best ways to protect your investment is to adhere to teeth whitening aftercare recommendations. This will ensure that your freshly whitened dental offers you long-term benefits.

Here are a few simple aftercare tips:

Observe Proper Oral Hygiene

Once you have whitened your dental, it is imperative to take your dental hygiene practices a notch higher. The idea is to maintain your perfect smile for the longest time possible. Remember that irrespective of the effectiveness of in-office teeth whitening, your dental is still susceptible to staining.

For the best outcome, you must:

  • Brush your teeth for 2 minutes, two times daily
  • Floss to remove plaque buildup
  • Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash after brushing and flossing
  • Rinse with a quality mouthwash after consuming teeth-staining foods or beverages
  • Use whitening toothpaste at least once weekly (at-home touchup)

Moreover, it is crucial to be gentle with your toothbrush. Freshly whitened teeth and gums are sensitive, so you want to be gentle to avoid causing discomfort or irritations.

Avoid Dyed Beverages

If you can, avoid drinking dyed beverages such as teas, coffees, and red wines. Even though your teeth are strong, they are still vulnerable to staining, especially right after teeth whitening. At the very least, you should consider consuming foods with lighter colors for the first few months. After that, make sure you brush your teeth or rinse with quality mouthwash after consuming highly pigmented foods or drinks. Sugar-free gum would also come in handy to prevent staining and tooth decay.

Avoid Acidic Foods

Acidic foods like pickles, lemons, limes, and soda contain high amounts of acids that can cause dental discoloration. Teeth whitening treatments weaken the pores of the enamel and open them up to make them more receptive to bleaching agents. Consuming acidic foods right after treatment may increase the risk of staining or decay. Acids could also make your teeth weaker and slow down the process of your enamel returning to a pristine state.

Use Tooth Sensitivity Products

After professional whitening treatments, it is perfectly normal to experience some level of tooth sensitivity when consuming foods or beverages that are either too hot or too cold. A superb after-care tip that could help ease the sensitivity is using dental sensitivity gels or toothpaste. Such products will reduce sensitivity and make chewing more comfortable.

Avoid Chewy Foods

Chewy foods can damage your freshly whitened teeth. This is more so the case when they get stuck on the surface. From a professional viewpoint, avoiding such foods for the first few weeks will not be difficult, mainly because your teeth may still be sensitive.

Avoid Overdoing It

As mentioned earlier, people have different teeth colors. If your teeth are inherently yellow, not even in-office whitening treatments can guarantee they will turn white as snow. While it is perfectly okay to schedule another whitening treatment after a few years, it is best not to do so immediately. Overdoing dental whitening may cause more harm than good to your enamel.

If you are not 100% satisfied with the outcome of a treatment, discuss this with your cosmetic dentist. He or she can help you explore other treatment options that may suit you. If necessary, you may even schedule another treatment at a later date. This should be perfectly safe as long as you take time between treatments.

Schedule Touch-Up Treatments

The outcomes of teeth whitening treatments often don’t last forever. The speed of relapse will depend on your diet, lifestyle, and diligence in following the recommended aftercare tips. The easiest way to maintain your pearly whites is to schedule touch-up treatments at least twice yearly.

We want you to maintain a beautiful smile for the longest time possible. After treatment, we will recommend the best aftercare tips. Be sure to ask any questions you may have and reach out to us at any time if you experience concerns that need to be addressed urgently.

Find a Washington Dentist Near Me

What’s great about a family photo without pearly white teeth?

Whether you want to brighten your teeth to make a good impression during an interview or a first date, we can help you achieve the most satisfying results. At the Washington Dental in Carson, CA, we offer top-notch cosmetic dentistry services. We will run tests to understand your type of teeth discoloration before advising you about your treatment options. We have your back, irrespective of whether you are a good candidate for in-office teeth whitening or not. Reach out to us through our contact at 310-217-1507, and let us discuss our teeth whitening services in more detail.