Even after getting crowns or veneers for our dental health, we might still wonder whether whitening is an option for either one. Whitening techniques usually work on natural teeth, but can such methods work on materials besides actual teeth, like crowns and veneers? Is it also possible for whitening techniques to damage these materials?
Can You Whiten Crowns?
Like whitening strips or pastes, many whitening techniques work on natural teeth but do not take as well to crowns. You might use whitening kits to bring your regular teeth to your crowns’ color, but they won’t do much beyond that.
The American Dental Association says that crowns cannot be whitened or bleached, though you are more than welcome to whiten or bleach your teeth if you want to match your crown color. However, if you have more than one crown in your teeth, it’s best to consult your dentist about which whitening option is safest for you.
Can You Whiten Veneers?
Some whitening techniques work great on natural teeth, but not on veneers, resulting in an unevenly-colored smile. If your veneers have stained or are just old (over twenty years), it might simply be time to replace them.
Whether because of age or use, veneers, especially the edges, eventually start to darken. You’ll more likely see this when your gums begin to recede. Composite veneers darken more easily because composite can pick up on food or drink stains like regular teeth. Porcelain veneers, on the other hand, should not darken too much over time, since they are dense and do not absorb stains as natural teeth do.
What Options are Available?
In short, teeth whitening for crowns and veneers does not work. However, you can still use whitening techniques on your regular teeth without damaging crowns or veneers, since they are both made to endure. That said, there are plenty of ways to make sure they at least stay clean, and that you can match your crowns or veneers to your teeth.
Good, Simple Home Care
The best way to whiten (or at least brighten) your veneers is to take good care of them at home and visit your dentist regularly. Make sure you use a soft-bristled brush since firmer bristles can damage veneers. More importantly, they can cause your gums to recede and expose the veneers’ base, where cavities and stains are more likely to form.
Ask Your Dentist To Polish Your Veneers
Although you cannot whiten your veneers, you can ask your dentist to polish them, which will remove any stains.
Replace Old Veneers
On the other hand, the veneers might need replacing. Veneers made over twenty years ago were composed of more porous materials that stain faster than newer materials. Plus, you can take time to choose the shade you want your veneers to be. You might even consider bringing in a Pinterest board or magazine as examples for the shade you want.
Replace Old Crowns After Whitening
Whitening materials do not change crowns’ color, but you can get new ones that match your new white smile. You can whiten your teeth at home with Whitestrips or pastes before getting new crowns.
Make sure you get your perfect shade before you pick a crown shade. Matching your teeth’s shade to a crown’s shade won’t be as easy. Wait about two weeks after the whitening to make sure you like the new shade before picking a new crown. The wait will also give your teeth a chance to settle into the new color, as well as a break in between treatments.