What To Do When Whitening Strips Don't Work

Posted on: 30 December 2020

When people want whiter teeth, the first thing they typically do is head to the pharmacy for some whitening strips. These strips do work for a lot of people. They can lighten the teeth a few shades and reduce the appearance of mild stains. But what if you're still not happy with the look of your teeth after using whitening strips? Then you need to head to the cosmetic dentist. There are two different treatments they often recommend for patients in your position.

Professional Whitening

The first thing your dentist is likely to recommend is a professional whitening treatment. This treatment operates under the same basic principles as whitening strips. It uses a bleaching agent — usually peroxide — to lighten your tooth enamel. However, because the solution is being applied by a dentist, a more concentrated bleach solution can be used. The dentist can also shine a special UV light or laser on your teeth, which can activate the bleach solution and give you even better results.

Professional whitening usually takes less than an hour. It's generally safe. However, it can lead to some tooth sensitivity in the days following treatment, and it is not a good choice for anyone with thin or weak tooth enamel.


If your dentist feels you're not a good candidate for professional whitening — perhaps because you have thin enamel or a history of sensitive teeth — then they may instead recommend that you have veneers placed over your teeth. Veneers are thin caps made from porcelain or a composite resin. They only cover the front and sides of your teeth. When someone looks at you, they will only see the veneer, not the stained tooth behind it.

Getting veneers is a bit more involved than getting your teeth professionally whitened. You will need to set up two appointments. At the first appointment, your dentist will create an impression of your teeth. They'll then send this impression to the lab so your veneers can be made. At the second appointment, the veneers can be fixed to your teeth with special cement. 

Your dentist will work with you to decide on the right color for your veneers. You can have them made as bright as you want, but most patients prefer a more natural color.

If whitening strips did not work for you, don't give up on achieving a whiter smile. Your local cosmetic dentist can help you get there. 


About Marcel and the Dentist

Hi, my name is Marcel. Welcome to my site! I started it to help others learn about children's dentistry. Most of us don't remember dentist trips from our early childhood. Maybe we didn't even really care about our teeth until we started losing baby teeth. In my case, I became interested in children's dentistry as a young father. When my kids were young, I was a student, and our insurance did not cover visits to the dentist. Although my wife and I tried to teach our kids good hygiene on our own, it was difficult. When we we finally able to take them to the dentist, my little girls were scared and didn't know what was going on. Luckily, they appreciate the dentist now that they are older, but their first experiences helped teach me more about the importance of children's dentistry. Hopefully you can learn from my experiences!