Teeth Whitening on Decayed Teeth?

Is it safe to do teeth whitening if some of my teeth are decayed?

Doctor Answers 7

Whitening Decayed Teeth

I think that i became a dentist to help people take care of their teeth and keep them healthy first and foremost.  The second thing i would do is the cosmetic whitening the patient requested and i would do it that order. It would be less painful for the patient doing  the whitening last and ,honestly, the patient as well as the dentist need to make sure the teeth and gums are healthy before cosmetic work is done. 

Van Nuys Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Restore your decayed teeth.

Restoring decayed teeth is more important to your health than whitening and should be taken care of as soon as you can.  Once you have restored your decayed teeth and have gotten a professional cleaning, then you can go forth with whitening options.  However, keep in mind that dental fillings and crowns can not be whitened with whitening products.  Thus, there may be a shade discrepency when you whiten your teeth after placing your fillings and crowns, and this may be an esthetic concern for front teeth.  The sequence of your treatment plan will be discussed with your dentist after a thorough examination.  Best, Dr. Elizabeth Jahanian.

Elizabeth Jahanian, DDS
Los Angeles Dentist

Need to take care of basic dental problems, such as decay, before cosmetic ones

You really need to take care of basic dental problems, such as decay, before purely cosmetic issues like whitening. It's possible to need root canal treatment or even lose teeth if decay is extensive and treatment is delayed. If areas of decay are very small and not very deep, you could get away with whitening first, but I would worry it would be painful. Sensitivity is the most frequent complaint when whitening intact, healthy teeth. Whitening teeth with cavities of any size in them is really asking for a problem. 

Paul D. Kantor, DDS
Cleveland Dentist
4.8 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Front teeth are fine for initial whitening, then fillings

Your back teeth will probably need to be filled first before any whitening is performed due to the sensitivity it could create. Front teeth can be whitened first because its easier to match the shade of the incisors if they have been whitened first. General rule of course, not carved in stone. Your dentist will let you know whats best.

Michael J. Thomas, DDS
Los Angeles Dentist
3.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Whitening Decayed Teeth

It depends. If the decayed areas are very small, you can whiten first. For instance -- if you have decay in your front teeth, you may want to whiten first -- then your cosmetic dentist can repair the teeth using a white bonding material to match your newly whitened teeth. However, if you have deep areas of decay - or a lot of (rampant) decay -- you will need to get the decay under control first.

Susan Goode Estep, DMD
Atlanta Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Teeth Whitening on tooth decay may hurt

While it is "OK" to do it, there likely will be pain and discomfort if done. Whitening gel can wick moisture out of teeth and make them ache. Decay allows more "wicking" and result in pain.

The color of the decay won't change, so the end result is still a need for fillings or other restoration. In the case of large amounts of decay, it is not uncommon to place a temporary filling, bleach, then finish/redo the filling. If fillings currently exist but have decay, there shouldn't be much issue of simply bleaching and then replacing the fillings when complete.

Lance Timmerman, DMD, MAGD
Seattle Dentist
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

What is first - Filling or Teeth Whitening

It depends. In general, it is not prudent. Only your treating doctor can determine that though. For example, you need a filling on a front tooth. Do you restore it with the present color of the tooth to protect it, and then do whitening or do whitening first and then match the color of the tooth to a new filling?

Dr. A.

Michael Ayzin, DDS
Costa Mesa Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.