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Teeth Whitening

Your smile is one of the first things someone might notice about you, so feeling confident about showing yours is essential. But if your teeth are yellow and stained, it can be hard to feel excited about bringing your teeth to light.

Teeth whitening procedures are popular cosmetic dental procedures that seek to improve the color and luminance of your teeth. However, since it’s considered an elective procedure, insurance will not likely cover the cost.

Out-of-pocket teeth whitening can cost you an arm and a leg, but let’s look at how you might find a way to get the care you need at the prices you want.

What Causes Tooth Discoloration?

Yellow or brown teeth are never usually the goal, but they are sometimes inevitable outcomes of specific triggers. Some of these are under our control, but some are natural reasons why your teeth might start to become discolored. Some of the causes include:

  • Lifestyle Habits
  • Poor Dental Hygiene
  • Medications
  • Aging
  • Disease

Lifestyle Habits

Coffee, tea, wine, sodas, and certain foods contain pigments that adhere to the white outer layer of your teeth called enamel, which can cause your teeth to become stained, making them look a bit yellow or brownish.

Poor Dental Hygiene

If you don’t brush or floss frequently, those food stains can build up fast and cause your teeth to look a little less white than normal. It’s important to stay on top of your twice-daily brushing and flossing to keep those pearly whites in tip-top shape.

Not to mention, skipping your regular dental cleanings can cause stains to continue to build up. Be sure to visit your dentist twice a year to help keep your teeth naturally bright.


Believe it or not, certain medications can cause discoloration in the teeth when given to children at a young age. Specifically, tetracycline antibiotics, when given to children before age eight, have been linked to tooth discoloration as the teeth develop.

These antibiotics bind to calcium and deposit in the developing teeth and bones. These changes have been reported with beta-lactam antibiotics as well. The good news is that this staining is usually reversible with careful brushing and professional teeth cleaning.


You can brush and floss as much as you want, but there are times when you still might notice teeth becoming discolored due to age alone. As you get older, the outer layer of enamel on the teeth wears away and exposes the underlying layer, dentin. Dentin is naturally yellow as opposed to the enamel on the outside.

Also, the dentin decreases the pulp size within the tooth as you age, diminishing the translucency of the tooth, which makes the tooth appear darker as a whole.


Certain diseases prevent the tooth enamel's normal development, making the underlying layer of dentin more pronounced. These can make the tooth appear more discolored.

Certain treatments like radiation or chemotherapy can also cause tooth discoloration over time.

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure that seeks to improve the appearance of your mouth and smile. Professional teeth whitening is the safest and most effective method.

Teeth whitening involves using a tooth bleaching agent, which includes either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These bleaches break down stains into smaller pieces which help to make the color of your teeth less concentrated to restore the brightness to your smile.

Types of Teeth Whitening

There are a few ways that a dentist can go about whitening your teeth.

In-Office Bleaching

If you get your teeth whitened in a dentist’s office, this procedure is known as chairside bleaching. The greatest benefit of chairside bleaching is how quickly you’ll see results, with noticeably whiter teeth from the moment you leave the chair.

The dentist will apply a protective gel or rubber shield to your gums before applying a bleaching agent to your teeth. The shield protects the gums from damage due to the bleach's abrasiveness.

At-Home Dentist-Recommended Bleaching

As opposed to using over-the-counter whitening products, dentists can provide you with custom-made whitening trays for at-home whitening. The dentist will give you instructions on how to use the bleaching tray and for what length of time. 

This is a preferred option compared to over-the-counter bleaching because it ensures that you can whiten from the comfort of home while still following the instructions of a dental professional.

Are There Side Effects to Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening is generally considered safe for most people. However, some people who use teeth whiteners experience heightened tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity happens when the peroxide in the tooth bleach gets through the enamel and begins irritating the teeth’s nerves. Usually, it’s temporary.

Overusing whiteners can also cause damage to enamel and gums, which is one of the main reasons it is best to whiten your teeth through your dentist rather than over-the-counter alternatives.

Affordable Teeth Whitening in Tucson, AZ

Teeth whitening is a great way to boost your confidence and self-esteem, but since it’s a cosmetic procedure that does not affect your oral health, it is not covered under dental insurance, which means you’re stuck paying out of pocket for this service.

The national average cost of teeth whitening is a whopping $703, which is inaccessible to most people. High prices can make it impossible to receive the care you need.

But with Flossy, you don’t need insurance to save up to 50% on common dental procedures. From full oral exams to teeth whitening, or root canals to cleanings, we’re the pay-as-you-go service for people without dental insurance.

Flossy’s whitening cost is cheaper and, with no annual premiums or membership dues, you only pay for the services you receive. There’s also no waiting period to meet with a highly vetted dental professional, so you can sign up and get started today.

Dentists in Tucson, AZ, are ready to give you the care you’ve been waiting for. Find a dentist near you to find new reasons to smile.


Having white teeth doesn’t necessarily improve your oral health, but it can give you the confidence and self-esteem boost necessary to feel good about smiling even more often.

Your teeth can lose their natural white color from all sorts of things, like staining from foods, medications, aging, disease, or poor dental hygiene. However, tooth bleaching can help to remove the staining pigments on your enamel and restore the color of your teeth.

In-office bleaching is the safest and most effective method, but you can also get at-home kits from your dentist. These are both preferred as opposed to over-the-counter whitening products because these can wear away your enamel if not conducted properly.

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure not usually covered by insurance, but paying out of pocket can be astronomical. Flossy is a pay-as-you-go service that can save you up to 50% on common dental treatments.

Find a dentist near you and get started on the path towards a perfect smile today.


Tooth Discoloration: Causes, Treatment & Prevention | Cleveland Clinic

Antibiotics and Tooth Staining | MedSafe

Tooth Whitening | MouthHealthy.org