Can you whiten a cavity?

Have you ever looked in the mirror and noticed that one of your teeth has turned yellow or gray? If so, you might be wondering if it’s possible to whiten a cavity. After all, getting rid of that unsightly discoloration could do wonders for your smile! However, before you dive headfirst into trying to bleach your tooth from the inside out, there are some things you should know.

What Is a Cavity?

To answer this question properly, we need to start by defining what a cavity is. Simply put, cavities are holes in the outer layer (enamel) of our teeth caused by bacteria breaking down sugars and other food particles. Over time, these cavities can grow larger and deeper until they reach the inner layers of our tooth where nerve endings reside.

The Anatomy Of A Tooth

Before we go too far into discussing how whitening works with cavities let’s have a closer look at what keeps our teeth healthy:

  • Enamel: This is the hard outer coating on each tooth.
  • Dentin: Beneath enamel lies dentin which makes up most portions of our tooth.
  • Pulp: As mentioned previously pulp contains delicate nerves and blood vessels that allow us to feel heat/cold sensations.

How Does Whitening Work?

When people talk about “whitening” their teeth at home or through professional treatments like dental visits – they’re generally referring explicitly towards brightening surface stains such as coffee or red wine marks instead of long-term damage (e.g, decay). So-called “surface stains” result when chromogens accumulate just beneath enamel while additive pigment substance gets caught onto known proteins within gum tissue often exist around individual crowns; else between spaces amongst teeeth themselves!

Surface Stains vs Discoloration

It’s necessary here to differentiate between ‘Surface Stains’ versus actual “Discoloration” due to deep cavity: whitening only affects the former. Surface stains are caused by a variety of common items such as:

  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Wine
  • Cigarettes

This type of daily-friendly staining can be erased with innumerable commercially available options that work for removing stains, such as specially-formulated pastes + strips – which rely upon either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide bleach agents.

However, these applications will not manage deeper and darker “discolors” below the surface layer (for example spots stemmed from enamel erosion), which are an entirely different story.

Can We Whiten A Tooth With Deep Discoloration?

Let’s set some grounds first; while ‘whitening’ is just one basic cosmetic dentistry procedure used to improve appearance aspects of a tooth it does not fix cavities themselves! If the hollow passage spreads deeply enough into roots, there could be pain since canal nerves sit here — so regardless of how white your teeth are you would need treatment to remedy any decay before resulting infections occurs.

In particular, patients with severely discolored or even grey-to-brown teeth frequently struggle with self-esteem issues given our society’s proclivity towards idealized photographic smiles often seen on adverts every day. Individuals who suffer from deep discolorations till date have had few solutions when compared against their more superficial counterparts beyond radical actions like enshrouding them up via mainly bonding materials within dental clinic spaces ($$$).

So, Can You Whiten a Cavity?

After all that explanation above now comes the time for answering this question about whether we’re capable enough of whitening a decaying or damaged tooth piece!

One pragmatic solution possibly incorporates inserting an amalgam filling containing silver material between 2nd + 3rd layers i.e covering dentin over pulp area while light-speed vapors oxidize pigments and lighten outer enamel surfaces surrounding area itself, evenly!

Caveat Emptor: This Isn’t Your Average Whitening Procedure

Of course, knowing whether or not there’s a “solution” to this issue is only part of the equation-there are other questions you need to ask yourself before considering getting your cavity-whitening procedure done:

Q1. How Much Will it Really Help?

One concern is the extent to which whitening techniques could be expected truly to change an already decayed surface area within tooth according towards developing technologies so far! Sure, they can require having some lightening effect- but will that offer discernible improvements on overall oral health? Read along as we find out more.

Q2. Is It Safe for My Teeth?

Other essential commentary relates towards managing risk-factors consequential with any invasive medical procedures including existing fillings, gum disease issues besides acid reflux sensations among others – all factors patients desired dentists’ expertise in weighing against pain relief potential when making bold decisions regarding treating their dental cavities and how best preserving their healthy oral biology given individual circumstances at play existently!!!

The Alternatives

If that wasn’t enough reason to think twice about attempting to whiten a cavity, there are also several alternatives available:

Option 1: Crowns

A crown (also called cap) completely covers the damaged tooth using porcelain or metal material hence sealing it from air/bacteria along protecting same via further deterioration; however requires substantial work / pricey !

Option 2: Fillings

Fillings require drilling out decaying section followed by cleansing then finally sealing tightly tiny spaces forming holes through materials such amalgam + composite resins etc..which get stacked over specific areas thereby providing protection beyond initial remedy process itself!!!


As tempting as it might seem trying fire-and-take-a-chance upon those store-bought ‘white-out’ solutions or run countless online DIY tips today dismissing option above left and center, there are very good reasons why it’s not a wise idea. Deciding to whiten your teeth is an incredibly personal choice that shouldn’t be taken lightly – especially when you’re dealing with something as important as your health.

So next time someone asks the question “can you whiten a cavity?”, remember: while a temporary fix might exist via certain treatments and techniques like spot-filling selections or in-office style procedures done by licensed professionals dedicated towards sustaining lasting change; getting to root issue itself through proper disease management throughout daily lifestyle routine remains at all times better for overall oral welfare!!!

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