Virtually all Americans have some level of tooth decay and that means they also likely have dental repairs, like fillings, crowns, and veneers. Many people experience staining on their teeth which easily fixed with whitening, either at home or more professionally.
But do dental work and teeth whitening work well together? Here’s all the information you need on how whitening fake and real teeth together affects the dental work you’ve had, so you can get an even brighter smile.
Those of you with crowns, you’re in luck.
“I have been in practice over 27 years and have not experienced a patient’s crown coming off because of bleaching/whitening gel,” said Dr. Payam Ataii of the Laser Dental Center, a SmileDirectClub partner.
You may experience a bit of temperature sensitivity if the crown is old or loose, especially if your original tooth is still under there, but otherwise you’re in good shape.
If you’ve got fillings, it may be more complicated. Depending on the bleaching gel used and the type of filling material you’ve got, long-term exposure to a whitening process can shorten the lifespan of your filling because of the peroxide formula in the gel.
It’s important to note that after your whitening sessions, your teeth may feel more sensitive for a couple days. That’s normal and doesn’t mean your dental work has been damaged. Ataii says it’s a temporary side effect because your teeth are dehydrated, but brushing with a fluoride toothpaste immediately after the treatment will help.
For veneers, the durability shouldn’t be affected, but you won’t get impressive results from the whitening, as you’ll find out in the next section.
Studies published in the Donnish Journal of Dentistry and Oral Hygiene show that tooth-colored composite fillings might lighten along with the rest of your teeth. But, crowns typically don’t change color during the whitening process. Luckily, crowns, which are typically placed on molars, fall outside the “smile line,” according to Ataii.
“Typically a patient’s ‘smile line’ shows the front six upper and lower teeth,” Ataii said. So if crowns in the back of your mouth aren’t changing color, it’s probably not the biggest deal.
To ensure that your teeth all stay the same color, dental work or no, Ataii suggests limiting how long the bleaching trays are on and/or cutting back on the amount of sessions.
That being said, if you have porcelain veneers on your front teeth, you might want to consider forgoing whitening altogether. Bleaching gels are formulated for removing stains from natural teeth, so you probably won’t see much of a difference, if any, in the color.
If you are worried teeth whitening might affect your porcelain veneers or crowns, make sure you’re taking the right precautions before going in. That means going to the dentist regularly so they can check for any damaged fillings, crowns, or veneers. Get those fixed before having your teeth whitened. You can also double check that the bleaching tray going over your teeth won’t put any of the gel directly on your dental work. It’s not 100% necessary, but it may bring you some peace of mind.
“Most whitening gels have been tested, and current data would suggest that professional ‘at-home’ systems are the most efficacious, as in my opinion it is the most convenient experience,” says Ataii.
If you’d like brighter, whiter teeth, SmileDirectClub has everything you need to get started.
All SmileDirectClub members get a free whitening kit with their order. You can also purchase our bright onTM teeth whitening system, pens, accelerator lights and more on our website. In as little as seven days, you can get a brighter smile, giving you even more confidence as your clear dental aligners get to work on your new grin.