A crown can fix your broken or decayed tooth, but it can complicate the process of whitening since crowns aren't made from the same material as your natural teeth. Can you whiten a crown when you've had dental work and want to brighten your smile? Before you proceed, it's best to speak with your dentist about your options.
All About Crowns
Crowns are often made from porcelain or composite porcelain. If your dentist decides you need a crown, they will take an impression of your tooth and create a cap that fits snugly on top. The crown is then bonded to your existing teeth. Most crowns are designed to last at least seven years.
When installing a porcelain crown, the dentist takes care to make sure it matches the color of the natural teeth. If over time, however, the natural teeth begin to yellow or stain, your crown could look whiter than the surrounding teeth. The good news? The crown material will always stay the same color and will not yellow or stain like natural enamel.
Most tooth whiteners fall into one of three categories:
- Polishes and pastes. Some toothpastes and whitening products use abrasive materials. Abrasive polishes work the same way a skin exfoliant does. They don't change the color of your enamel, but scrub away minor stains. While this will not treat discoloration, it can help reveal a whiter smile by removing surface stains.
- Over-the-counter whitening products. Products that contain whitening agents like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide bleach the enamel's surface. Bleaching agents can be found in whitening toothpastes, gels, trays or strips. You can purchase these over-the-counter and use them in the comfort of your home to whiten teeth a few shades over time.
- In-office treatment. For the most drastic results, you can ask your dentist for an in-office whitening treatment. Your dentist applies stronger bleaching agents and monitors the color of your teeth to achieve your optimal shade. You may need as few as one treatment. Your dentist can formulate your plan based on your specific needs, making this the safest way to whiten.
Can You Whiten a Tooth Crown?
According to the American Dental Association, whitening treatments do not affect the color of crowns. Crowns can't be bleached. They will remain the color they were when the dentist placed them. If you notice that your natural teeth are yellowing or developing stains, you may be able to whiten those teeth so they more closely match your whiter crowns.
If you want to whiten your teeth and have one or more crowns, consult your dentist. They can help direct you to the best treatment options to keep both your natural teeth and your crowns gleaming white. With the right guidance, you'll be confident about your smile.