Should I Have My Cavities Filled Before Professional Teeth Whitening?

Teeth Whitening McLean, VA

Teeth whitening treatments are one of the most effective ways to improve the way that a person's teeth look. The treatment can improve the color of your teeth by up to eight shades after one session. Some patients need multiple teeth whitening treatments to eventually reach the shade of white they desire. The appearance of a person's teeth is one of the most noticeable features of their appearance, and having a white set of teeth can do wonders for a person's confidence.

Teeth whitening treatments are classified as a non-invasive dental procedure, but that does not mean everyone is eligible for the procedure. Whitening treatments are performed using powerful bleaching agents like hydrogen carbamide. That can lead to teeth and gum tissues being irritated.

When a patient has healthy teeth, this irritation is not a big deal, but it can lead to severe pain and discomfort when the patient has existing dental problems like cavities, gum disease or gum recession. Dentists typically recommend addressing such issues before proceeding with teeth whitening treatments.

Why performing teeth whitening treatments on patients with cavities is a bad idea

The bleaching agents used in whitening treatments make their way into the inner, more sensitive layers of teeth that contain tiny nerve endings. This typically leads to increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods/beverages when the patient's teeth are healthy, and it can lead to severe pain and discomfort when the patient has teeth that are already damaged. Teeth whitening treatments can permanently damage teeth that have already been weakened by tooth decay.


Treating tooth decay is rather routine for dentists. Treatments that a dentist might use to fix decayed teeth before proceeding with teeth whitening include the following. 

Fillings: This is the conventional way to deal with cavities. The filling material is poured into the tooth and hardens when exposed to air or saliva.

Composite bonding: This involves using a composite made out of mixtures of plastics and glass to fix decayed teeth. Composite resins can also be used as filling material.

Crowns: These restorations are often used to treat severely decayed teeth. The crown goes over the visible part of the tooth and protects it from irritants in the mouth and bite forces.

Root canal therapy: This procedure is performed when tooth decay has reached a tooth's pulp chamber. The procedure is used to clean out the area, apply medication, and close it up. Teeth that have been restored with a root canal are typically covered with crowns to protect them.

Once the patient's cavities have been addressed, the dentist can proceed with teeth whitening treatments. Patients often need multiple treatments to reach the desired level of whiteness. Teeth that have been whitened will not stay that way forever, so maintenance treatments should be performed as needed.

We treat cavities and whiten teeth

Give us a call or visit our McLean clinic if you have cavities and are interested in teeth whitening treatments.

Request an appointment here: or call Oak Tree Dental at (703) 763-5239 for an appointment in our McLean office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Teeth Whitening in McLean, VA.

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