5 Common Questions About Teeth Whitening: Answered by Dentists


1. Does insurance cover the cost of teeth whitening procedures?

No. Dental insurance does not typically cover the cost of teeth whitening procedures. Most plans consider this expense to be “cosmetic”. But if you have a health spending account you may be able to claim your receipts their, be sure to check with your insurance provider first.

2. How long do the teeth whitening effects last?

Teeth whitening is not permanent. People who expose their teeth to foods and beverages that cause staining may see the whiteness start to fade in as little as one month. Those who avoid foods and beverages that stain may be able to wait one year or longer before another whitening treatment or touch-up is needed. Every patient’s teeth are different so it’s best to monitor and speak to your dentist when necessary.

3. Do teeth whiteners damage existing dental restorations?

Over 10 years of clinical use of teeth whitening products containing 10% carbamide peroxide have not shown any damage to existing fillings. The issue is not “damage” to existing restorations; rather, keep in mind that existing restorations such as tooth-coloured fillings, crowns, bonding, veneers, and bridges do not lighten. This means that any pre-existing dental work may need to be replaced to match the new tooth shade achieved in the natural teeth, should a bleaching process proceed.

4. Do teeth whiteners damage a tooth’s nerve?

There’s no evidence to date that the teeth whitening process has a harmful effect on the health of a tooth’s nerve. One study reported that at both a 4.5- and 7-year follow up, no individual who used a teeth whitening system needed a root canal procedure on any teeth that had been whitened.



American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry: “Teeth Whitening.”

TeensHealth: “taking care of your teeth.”

Columbia University College of Dental Medicine: “Tooth Whitening.”