Our smiles are our calling cards, and a radiant smile can go a long way in boosting our confidence. In fact, a study commissioned by Crest Whitestrips showed a whiter set of teeth directly impacts your social and professional relationships. Unfortunately, life can take a toll on our teeth. Whether it’s a morning cup of coffee every day to indulging in blueberries or red wine occasionally, our teeth can discolor over time. There is a game-changer: professional teeth whitening. When you whiten your teeth, you can effectively remove years of stains. Let’s dive deeper into the benefits, safety considerations, and the teeth-whitening process.

What Is Teeth Discoloration?

There are two different types of teeth stains: intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic stains stain the surface of your teeth, and they are due to factors such as food, beverages, or smoking. Extrinsic stains are the easiest to remove because they are limited to the outer layer of your teeth. Our professional Zoom whitening procedure, for example, can restore your teeth to their natural color if your stains are extrinsic. Intrinsic stains stain the tooth’s structure. They occur beneath your enamel and are due to factors such as medication, damage to the dentin – from an injury – or even as a result of some dental conditions. Intrinsic stains often need more thorough dental interventions. At Ranieu Family Dental, we can discuss procedures for your intrinsic stains to help restore the natural color of your teeth. So, why exactly do teeth become discolored? Here are some key factors that contribute to discoloration.

Food and Beverages

Many drinks, such as red wine, tea, and coffee, can stain your teeth. These drinks contain tannins that cling to your tooth enamel. Over time, the tannins start to build up, leading to discoloration.

Acidic foods are also responsible for discoloring your teeth. Citrus fruits, for example, can erode your enamel. Once the surface enamel is eroded, your teeth become more susceptible to staining.


The nicotine and tar in tobacco can damage not only your lungs but they can also stain the surface of your teeth. The yellow stains that result from smoking are difficult to remove and often require a professional whitening procedure.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Neglecting to brush and floss your teeth regularly can result in plaque and tartar buildup on the surface of your teeth. This can lead to dental decay, gum disease, and yellow teeth. Brushing your teeth daily can resolve this problem. However, if you have neglected your teeth for a while, you may need professional intervention to return your teeth to their previous color.


As you age, the thickness of your enamel gradually diminishes. This decrease typically happens between the ages of 50 to 65. After 65, the amount of enamel you have is approximately one-third less than people below the age of 50.[2] This thinning makes teeth appear more yellow.


Some medications, such as antipsychotic medication, can discolor your teeth. This is often a side effect of the medication. Tetracycline-containing medications can stain teeth.[5] Additionally, antihistamines have been associated with tooth discoloration.


Genetics can play a role in teeth discoloration as well. Two known conditions can lead to yellow teeth. These are Dentinogenesis Imperfecta and Amelogenesis Imperfecta.

Dentinogenesis Imperfecta is an inherited disorder that affects the development of your teeth. Teeth are typically translucent and discolored as a result.[3]

Amelogenesis Imperfecta occurs in people who have abnormal enamel development. This issue is also inherited. Teeth are smaller than usual, discolored, and break easily.[4]

Dental Trauma

Discolored teeth may be a result of a blow or injury to your mouth. The injury could cause structural changes to your enamel or result in pulp necrosis.[6] Pulp necrosis occurs when the soft tissue inside your tooth dies. As a result, the affected tooth could turn gray.

Because many factors can lead to discolored teeth, it’s important to get a professional assessment from our cosmetic dentist. We’ll be able to determine if the procedure is safe for you. We can also provide a customized treatment plan. We are aware that everyone’s situation is different. An ideal treatment plan for you may not be suitable for another client, for instance. Our approach ensures that we tailor a whitening plan to your needs and the shade of your teeth.

The Benefits of Whitening Your Teeth Professionally

Getting a professional whitening procedure brings many benefits. Some benefits include:

Enhanced Safety and Effectiveness Compared to Over-the-Counter Products

When our dental office provides a Zoom whitening procedure, we use LED-light accelerating technology combined with the whitening gel. The LED light enhances the effects of the gel.

Over-the-counter products don’t always provide consistent coverage to your enamel and don’t always have the same concentrations of whitening gel. This alone means you may end up with a mediocre job or overexposure from too high a concentration of the gel. Our dental team monitors your treatment throughout to ensure you are getting the best results. This allows us to make adjustments at any point during treatment.

In addition, you may not get permanent results with OTC whitening products. With our Zoom whitening treatment, however, the LED technology ensures the whitening gel penetrates deeper into your enamel. This can help remove stubborn stains that OTC whitening products may not be able to remove.

Customized Treatment Plans for Individual Needs

When you use OTC whitening products, your teeth may be too sensitive for the concentration you choose. Our cosmetic dentist, on the other hand, will provide you with a comprehensive examination and determine the best way to whiten your teeth. Whitening isn’t a one-size-fits-solution.

We sit with our clients to discuss not only their needs but also the condition of their teeth. Are the stains extrinsic or intrinsic, for example? That answer alone involves a different approach. We also choose the right whitening gel, the concentration best suited to your needs, and the application method.

Sometimes, teeth are unevenly colored. There may be more discoloring on the side teeth and less on the front teeth. This uneven discoloration will require a customized approach. We also take into consideration any existing dental work you have, such as crowns, fillings, or veneers. Remember that dental restorations won’t respond to whitening gels in the same way your natural teeth will. To avoid a difference in color between your natural teeth and dental restorations, we provide a customized treatment plan.

Long-Lasting Results With Minimal Sensitivity

When you purchase OTS whitening products, you may not be able to manage the discomfort effectively, and you may end up damaging your teeth. That’s why it’s important to get your teeth whitened professionally. At Ranieu Family Dental, we pay attention to every client’s sensitivity levels and ensure they are comfortable throughout the treatment. One of the ways we do this is by protecting your gums and lips during the procedure to minimize irritation. We can also adjust the intensity of the whitening treatment.

Our goal is to ensure you get professional treatment and long-term results. OTC whitening products are cheap for a reason: they can’t guarantee high-quality, long-term results. However, whitening your teeth with our cosmetic dentist in Vancouver WA means you’ll get a customized treatment using advanced whitening techniques.

Professional Supervision and Support

Professional supervision and support throughout the whitening process is an invaluable aspect of opting for professional whitening treatment. Unlike over-the-counter (OTC) whitening products where you’re left to navigate the process solo, choosing professional treatment means entrusting your oral health to trained dental professionals who are equipped to handle any underlying issues you may not even be aware of, such as gum problems or cavities.

At our practice, our dedicated dental team takes on the responsibility of overseeing the entire whitening procedure from start to finish, ensuring not only optimal results but also your safety and comfort throughout. We meticulously apply the whitening agent in a controlled manner, carefully monitoring for any signs of sensitivity or discomfort at every stage of the process. If we need to make adjustments to minimize your discomfort, we’ll do so immediately.

The Professional Teeth-Whitening Process

When you choose to whiten your teeth with our Zoom whitening process, here is what you can expect:

Initial consultation and dental evaluation

The first appointment is a consultation. We examine your teeth, discuss your teeth-whitening goals, and determine if you are a good candidate for our whitening treatment. We also answer your questions and address any concerns you may have.

Explanation of different whitening methods

During your consultation appointment, we make sure to inform you of your choices. You can have an in-office whitening treatment or use take-home whitening kits.

Step-by-step overview of in-office whitening procedure

There are five steps we typically follow when whitening teeth:

Step 1: Our dental office cleans your teeth to remove any plaque or tartar on the surface.

Step 2: We will then take what’s called a “shade assessment” of your teeth and create a baseline shade. This shade of white is what we’ll use as a reference throughout the whitening procedure.

Step 3: Next, we protect your lips and gums with a protective barrier. This shields them from the whitening gel and prevents any irritation from occurring in those areas.

Step 4: We then apply the whitening gel and use the LED light technology to enhance the gel further. We continuously monitor you for signs of discomfort or sensitivity.

Step 5: Once the Zoom whitening procedure is complete, we make a follow-up appointment to monitor the results. We also provide custom trays and refill whitening syringes every six months. This will ensure you get long-term results.

Who Is a Candidate for Professional Teeth Whitening?

Not everyone who wants their teeth whitened are good candidates. When you visit our dental office, we typically ensure that you are an ideal candidate for the treatment. Here are the criteria we consider:

Good Oral Health

If you want your teeth whitened, your teeth and gums should be healthy. If there are issues with your teeth – such as cavities or gum disease – we will address these concerns first before scheduling you for a teeth whitening procedure.

No Dental Conditions

Another detail we look at is whether you have dental conditions. This could include things like exposed tooth roots or enamel erosion. Moreover, if you have experienced some kind of dental trauma, such as an injury to your teeth, you may need different cosmetic procedures like bonding rather than teeth whitening.

Maintain Oral Hygiene

Our ideal candidates practice good oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing daily. If you smoke regularly or drink coffee daily, then the teeth whitening procedure may prove futile. In other words, if your daily habits stain your teeth, then whitening them will be short-lived.

No Dental Restorations on Your Front Teeth

As mentioned, whitening does not affect dental restorations, such as veneers and crowns. So, if you have dental restorations on your front teeth, you may get uneven coloring: one color for your natural teeth and another for your dental restorations. This uneven result could leave you dissatisfied.

Common Concerns and Misconceptions

Once we have identified you as a good candidate, we explain the common concerns and misconceptions so you’re clear on the entire procedure and what it entails.

Tooth Sensitivity: Some people may experience tooth sensitivity during and after the whitening procedure. Usually, this sensitivity is temporary and mild.

Damaged Tooth Enamel: If you have your teeth whitened at a professional dental office like Ranieu Family Dental, the procedure won’t damage your tooth enamel. Whitening agents do penetrate your enamel to remove the stains, but when you use them correctly, there is no damage. If you use OTC whitening products incorrectly and without supervision, though, it’s possible to damage your teeth.

Unnatural or Fake-Looking Results: Our dental office offers customized whitening treatments to determine how many shades whiter you’d like your teeth. We always aim to provide results that are close to the natural color of your teeth.

The Process Is Painful: While some clients may experience some sensitivity and mild discomfort, the entire procedure is painless. We also place a protective barrier on your lips and gums to reduce any discomfort in those areas.

The Procedure Is Permanent: Although you will have a brighter smile for a while, especially if you are good about maintaining your teeth, the treatment is not permanent. With time, you may need touch-ups or additional treatments.

The Procedure Is Expensive: At Ranieu Family Dental, our in-office Zoom whitening costs $550. However, there are options. You can select our $299 in-house savings plan and pay just $325. Alternatively, you can look into our Care Credit & Lending Club Payment financing options.

Ranieu's Dental Savings Plan Flyer

In-House Dental Savings Plan $299/Year

Dental insurance coverage can be complicated. Worse, some people simply don’t have it. That’s where our in-house dental savings plan can help. Ranieu Family Dental plan offers an affordable dental savings plan for our patients.

We also offer a special members-only discount on any needed treatment. This treatment includes cosmetic services.

• 15-20% off additional dental work • $1000 off full treatment Invisalign • $325 Zoom Whitening Treatment


Of course, some customers aren’t ideal candidates for our Zoom! in-office bleaching procedure. So, what are the alternatives?

Bonding: When dentists bond your teeth, they use a tooth-colored resin material on the surface of your teeth. This can help with stains and discoloration issues.

Veneers: You also have the option of getting veneers, which are custom-made shells that are bonded to the surface of your teeth. This can hide stains, cosmetic imperfections, and discolorations.

Microabrasion: Dentists can remove a very thin layer of your surface enamel to get rid of surface stains.

Post-Whitening Care and Maintenance

While our Zoom! in-office bleaching procedure is effective at whitening your teeth, you can maintain results and prevent future discoloration by practicing good oral hygiene. We highly recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day, use fluoride toothpaste, and floss daily. We also recommend that you avoid foods and beverages that will stain your teeth, such as berries, red wine, coffee, tea, and any kind of tomato-based sauces. If you do happen to have a glass of red wine or eat some berries, rinse your mouth afterward to minimize any staining. Smoking is a big no-no. If you want to maintain the whiteness of your teeth, it’s a good idea to quit smoking. Quitting will prevent new stains from forming. We also suggest you get a dental check-up every six months. Besides letting us monitor your gums and teeth, we can check to see how well the treatment is doing. Sometimes, using whitening toothpaste can help. Only use it occasionally, though. Talk to our dental office about how often you should use it. Depending on your diet, your teeth may start to discolor a little bit over time. If this is the case, you can do touch-up treatments at home with the custom-fitted whitening tray that our dental office provides. We will also give you refill whitening syringes that you can use every six months.

Risks and Considerations

As with any dental procedure, there are always risks and considerations to keep in mind.

Side Effects

Tooth sensitivity is a side effect of whitening your teeth. As stated above, this sensitivity is temporary and it should disappear within a few days. However, to help manage your sensitivity, here are some steps you can take:

• Use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth, such as Sensodyne. We can also offer a desensitizing gel that can help soothe the sensitive areas.

• Although we place a protective barrier on your gums and lips to avoid irritation, you may still experience some irritation in these areas. To manage this, apply some aloe vera gel to that area. If your whitening trays are irritating your gums, make an appointment with our office. Our dental team can adjust the trays so they fit better.

• The whitening treatment may irriate your inner cheeks and tongue. To help manage the discomfort, rinse your mouth with a saline solution.

Safety Precautions and Contraindications

As a safety precaution, we tell all our patients that they must undergo an assessment so we can check their oral health. This step ensures that your dental issues are addressed before undergoing the whitening procedure. There are other contraindications to be aware of, however.

If your teeth are unusually sensitive to cold, hot, or acidic foods, you may be at an increased risk of suffering more sensitivity than normal. If this is the case, we can provide options to minimize sensitivity.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it may be a good idea to postpone your teeth whitening procedure. Although there is no definitive research on how whitening affects pregnant women, it’s best to err on the side of caution.

Another contraindication is age. We do not recommend you whiten your teeth if you are under the age of 16 or if your teeth are still developing. At this age, your dental enamel is still forming and whitening agents may permanently damage the enamel.

If you are allergic to any ingredients in whitening gels, such as carbamide peroxide, the whitening procedure is probably not one you should consider. Our dental office can provide other options if you have stained or discolored teeth, such as veneers.

Take-Home Whitening Kit

Not everyone feels comfortable undergoing an in-office teeth whitening procedure, and not everyone has time. If this sounds like you, we offer our take-home whitening kit for $150. You also have the choice to pay for it in installments of $41.25.

Zoom Whitening at Our Vancouver WA Dental Office

Professional teeth whitening offers loads of benefits. Besides providing you with a boost of confidence and a nicer smile, you can remove years of stains on the surface of your enamel. Our dental office also provides customized treatments so you can ensure that the whitening is not only the exact shade you want but that it is the same shade across all your teeth.

Rather than purchase a cheap over-the-counter whitening product, contact Ranieu Family Dental to schedule a professional treatment. Having your teeth whitened at our office ensures you will be monitored throughout the process.

A brighter smile isn’t just about aesthetics, it’s about radiating better oral health and confidence. If you would like to schedule a consultation and find out more about our whitening procedure in Vancouver WA, contact us today.

References: [1] https://news.pg.com/news-releases/news-details/2007/New-Study-Shows-Whiter-Teeth-Can-Lead-to-Greater-Success-in-Work-and-Love/default.aspx [2] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmats.2022.888638/full [3] https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/dentinogenesis-imperfecta/ [4] https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/amelogenesis-imperfecta/ [5] https://www.colgate.com/en-in/oral-health/teeth-whitening/medicines-that-stain-your-teeth [6] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/23573-pulp-necrosis

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