Can you whiten Dental Crowns?

Dr. Kyle Hornby

I am a Dentist in Kitchener, ON, and each week I like to explore a question that I commonly get at my Kitchener Family Dental office. This week, I'd like to discuss address whether or not you can whiten dental crowns.

Teeth whitening has become a multi-billion dollar industry and each year, Canadians spend more and more on brightening their smiles. In some ways, whitening has made people value their smiles and teeth more. I would say, generally, people tend to have more concern for maintaining their teeth and gums with this increasing focus on their own smile.

Now, this huge boom in teeth whitening brings with it certain logistic questions. Mainly, if your teeth get whiter do dental fillings, crowns, dental bridges and implant crowns get whiter, too? If not, we need to have some strategy about how we restore teeth to accommodate occasional teeth whitening.

Can you whiten Dental Crowns?

With the exception of dental fillings, most dental prosthetics like crowns and bridges are made of either white porcelain or white zirconia. Dental fillings are a composite resin polymer. Importantly, none of these materials change colour or shade with tooth whitening. So, should you avoid whitening your teeth if you have these restorations in your mouth?

Here's how you tackle this problem...

Can you whiten Dental Crowns?: Strategies and Solutions for Teeth Whitening

So, we have 2 problems to solve here:

  1. You want to whiten your teeth and you are going to have dental fillings, a dental crown, or a dental bridge placed in the immediate future and...
  2. You have existing dental fillings, crowns, etc., and you want to whiten your teeth.

So, first, a strategy for overcoming Problem #1:

Always, always, always whiten your teeth before completing dental work. This will allow your Kitchener Dentist to match any crown or bridge porcelain or dental filling to your whitened teeth.

Now, a solution to Problem #2:

I would never recommend that anybody replace functional dental work just to get something in a whiter shade. In short, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it"! Luckily, home whitening is a gradual process. Patients typically whiten their teeth each night for a span of 1 - 2 weeks.

If you find that a noticeable difference is developing between your natural tooth colour and the colour of any dental work, then you can stop whitening at that point. The best way to do this is stand 4-6 feet from your mirror and assess for any differences in shade between restored and unrestored teeth. If you lean in and look from 10cm out, you're scrutinizing too closely. You'll notice differences that can't be detected at a normal viewing distance when you're interacting with (and smiling at) people in a typical social setting. You'll be more likely to cut your whitening short a few days early when you could have gotten everything a bit whiter.

Also, keep in mind that "a rising tide lifts all ships". If 80% of your teeth are unrestored and get brighter with whitening, it will make other teeth and your overall smile appear brighter too. So don't scrutinize things too much when it comes to whitening.

Summary

"Can you whiten Dental Crowns?". Unfortunately, you cannot. But, you still have lots of strategies for whitening your teeth in a way that will preserve a match between natural and prosthetic tooth surfaces.

It always helps to let your Dentist in Kitchener know your plans for future whitening. Firstly, it may affect how they shade match restorations. Secondly, it may affect their recommendation for timing of your whitening period. Remember not to scrutinize your tooth shade too closely because most disparities in whiteness cannot be detected by others at a normal viewing distance.

If you'd like to learn more about Dental Crowns, materials, and their Aesthetics please check out my Definitive Guide to Dental Crowns.

Thanks for reading today!

By Dr. Kyle Hornby, Kitchener Dentist

If you are in need of tooth repair, dental crowns or emergency dental services in Kitchener, give us a call at (519) 576-8160 or request a consult with me here.

Our Kitchener Dental Clinic is conveniently located in Downtown Kitchener. Our central location means we truly offer family dentistry near you!

This article is meant to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Accordingly, always seek the advice of your Kitchener Dentist or other healthcare provider regarding a dental condition or treatment.

Enjoy a fresh start.
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