Q:

Can dental crowns be whitened?

A:

Quick Answer

Dental crowns cannot be whitened and if a person wants to have the dental crown whitened, then he or she must replace the entire crown. Teeth in general, whether with crowns or without crowns, darken slowly in time so that most people do not notice the darkening until there has been a significant change.

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Full Answer

Porcelain veneers tend to retain their color for years and a person may find that it is actually the natural surrounding teeth that appear darker in color, while veneers and crowns made out of other materials will darken significantly in time. To whiten a dental crown, for now, dentists must replace the crown. These patients can go into their dentist's offices and ask for new, whiter crown and veneer replacements.

For patients who wish to whiten their natural teeth, they do not need to worry about possible damage to crowns or veneers because all dental restoration techniques, including metal amalgam, porcelain and gold alloy, will not be affected by tooth whitening procedures.

It is recommended that patients who are unhappy with their natural teeth or who plan to whiten their natural teeth within 5 to 10 years should do so before they get veneers or crowns. This will help dentists then create veneers and crowns that are color matched to the new whitened natural teeth.

Dentists color-match crowns as well as tooth-colored fillings to the color of the patient's natural teeth at the time they are applied, states Charles N. Stanfield, D.D.S. Cosmetic and Family Dentistry. Thus, if a patient undergoes a teeth-whitening bleaching treatment, the natural teeth take on a whiter shade, while any crowns or fillings retain the shade of the natural teeth prior to the whitening process. This may have the effect of making the crowns and fillings appear even darker than they previously appeared due to the contrast between them and the lightened natural teeth. For this reason, patients with crowns or other man-made dental materials on their front teeth often must have the artificial materials remade and reapplied after the bleaching treatment is complete to achieve the desired result.

An alternative to replacing individual crowns is receiving a full-mouth set of crowns or veneers in the desired shade, explains Southeast Family Dental. This option eliminates future need for whitening treatments.

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