When Does Teeth-Whitening Not Work?

when teeth whitening doesn't workFew things can affect your confidence as much as your smile, and few things can affect your smile’s appearance as consistently as teeth stains. Fortunately, in most cases, teeth stains can often be erased with a professional teeth-whitening treatment. Sometimes, though, stains and discoloration can be too stubborn for a traditional bleaching treatment to address. To help you avoid unnecessary, and ineffective, procedures, we explain a few situations when teeth-whitening typically doesn’t work, and how we can improve your smile using another, more appropriate cosmetic procedure.

When You Buy It Over the Counter

Whether it’s whitening toothpaste, whitening strips, or a do-it-yourself whitening rinse, over-the-counter products are rarely effective, and only when stains are minor and light. For more common teeth stains, an OTC teeth-whitening product will not likely be powerful enough to produce satisfactory results. Yet, the chemicals can still be powerful enough to damage your teeth if you overuse the product in an attempt to achieve better results.

When Teeth Stains Are Inside the Tooth

The stains that most-frequently affect teeth are extrinsic, occurring on the surface (enamel) of your teeth. Teeth-whitening works by eliminating surface stains to restore your tooth’s shine and blemish-free appearance. However, the enamel around your teeth is semi-translucent, and stains that develop from within your tooth’s main structure can show through, as well. If one or more teeth are discolored from within (called intrinsic staining), then teeth-whitening won’t be able to reach the underlying tooth structure to brighten them.

Alternatives to Teeth-Whitening

If teeth-whitening doesn’t work to brighten your smile, then we may recommend a more appropriate cosmetic procedure, such as cosmetic dental bonding or porcelain veneers, to eliminate the blemishes. After a thorough examination to determine the source and severity of your teeth stains, we’ll consult with you to discuss an appropriate treatment plan.


With over 25 years of professional experience, Dr. Steven M. Huffstutler and his caring team proudly provide exceptional preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dental treatment to patients and their families across Dallas/Ft. Worth, including North Richland Hills, Denton, the Mid-cities, Southlake, and all surrounding communities. We also have extensive experience helping patients find relief from painful TMJ disorders (various forms of jaw dysfunction). To schedule an appointment with Dr. Huffstutler, contact our office today by calling 817-918-3038.