Whitening Toothpaste Is Not Working. What Are Your Options?

Posted on: 6 May 2019

If your teeth have been looking a bit yellow and stained lately, your first step may have been to buy a whitening toothpaste. Using whitening toothpaste regularly for a few weeks can often lighten teeth a couple of shades. But, the difference is not always as dramatic as you'd like. If you're not satisfied with the results you're getting from whitening toothpaste, here are some more intensive options to consider.

Dentist-Provided Whitening Trays

The whitening trays you can buy over-the-counter in the pharmacy are only slightly more effective than whitening toothpaste. For really white teeth, you should visit a cosmetic dentist and have custom trays made.

Because these fit more closely to your teeth, they enable you to use a stronger whitening solution than is available over-the-counter. You'll wear the trays for a half hour or so daily over the course of several weeks, and your teeth will slowly become whiter during this period.

Laser Whitening

If you do not have the time nor patience for whitening trays, another option is to visit a dentist for a single, in-office laser whitening appointment. A bleach solution will be applied to your teeth, and then a laser will be used to activate it and enhance the bleaching effects. The results are immediate.

Some patients need a repeat treatment, but many are happy with the level of whitening they get from one treatment. Laser whitening can make your teeth more sensitive than trays, however, so it's not the best choice if you have a history of tooth sensitivity or gum problems.


If your staining is due to antibiotic use, or if you have deep staining that does not respond to bleaching, another option is to get veneers. These are thin sheets of porcelain that are fitted over the fronts of your teeth, only. They're sort of like shields. When someone looks at your teeth, they only see the veneer, not the stained tooth behind it.

Veneers do require your dentist to remove a small portion of your tooth enamel to apply them, so once you have veneers, you need to stick with them. You will also need to avoid eating really crunchy foods, as they can chip the veneers. However, most patients are really happy with their results and get used to the veneers within a few weeks.

Whitening toothpaste works for some people, but it does not provide that intense, bright-white result so many people are hoping for when they whiten their teeth. For better, more effective options, consult with a cosmetic dentist.