What Are the Ways to Whiten Crowns? - Smiles on Queen - Family Dentistry in Bolton
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An ultra-white smile enhances your appearance. It can boost your self-esteem and self-confidence, reduce the visibility of the surrounding wrinkles, take years off your face, and positively impact your social and professional life.

An ultra-white smile enhances your appearance. It can boost your self-esteem and self-confidence, reduce the visibility of the surrounding wrinkles, take years off your face, and positively impact your social and professional life.

  • Enamel has miniature pores that absorb stains and pigments from heavily pigmented foods like wine, berries, tomato-based sauces, black tea, colas, and coffee.
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Diseases that prevent proper development of the enamel and the dentin.
  • Medical treatments like head and neck radiation and chemotherapy.
  • Some infections in pregnant women can affect enamel development in their babies and cause discolouration.
  • Antipsychotic drugs, antihistamines (like Benadryl®), and antihypertensive medications
  • Medications like the antibiotics doxycycline and tetracycline can affect enamel formation in children.
  • Mouthwashes and rinses that contain chlorhexidine and cetylpyridinium chloride.
  • Some amalgam restorations, like the use of materials that contain silver sulphide, can give a gray-black cast to the teeth.
  • As you age, the enamel’s outer layer wears away, exposing the yellow dentin. The pulp of the tooth dentin also decreases in size as you age, which reduces the translucency of the tooth, giving it a darker hue.
  • Genetics affect the thickness and the whiteness of the enamel.
  • Water with high fluoride levels and excessive use of fluoride toothpaste, rinses, and applications can cause fluorosis, which looks like white spots on the teeth.
  • Trauma on teeth such as being hit in the mouth before the age of 8 can disturb enamel formation, cause the nerves to die, or disrupt the flow of blood to the tooth.
  • Poor dental hygiene, like failure to regularly brush and floss, lead food stain and plaque build-up.

Note that while extrinsic causes of tooth discoloration often lead to yellow or brown teeth, intrinsic causes usually result in greyish teeth. It is easier to whiten teeth whose discoloration is a result of extrinsic reasons than it is for those resulting from intrinsic causes.

I Want to Whiten My Teeth, But I Have a Crown. Is It Possible?

If this sounds like you, you have most likely heard that it is not possible to whiten crowns. Crowns are made of porcelain or a composite of porcelain and metal. Less common materials for crowns are gold, ceramic, stainless steel, and resin-based materials. The active peroxide chemicals in teeth whitening products are meant to penetrate the enamel and break down darkly coloured compounds that form under the surface of the teeth. Even if active teeth whitening chemicals were to penetrate the porcelain or composite, the impact would not be visible, and the process would be futile.

Sometimes, the change could be on the dental crowns themselves, not the teeth. The most common cause of dental crowns turning yellow is damage during dental cleaning when an inexperienced dental hygienist uses chemicals like sodium bicarbonate and acidulated fluoride that remove the glaze from the porcelain.

Can You Change the Colour of a Dental Crown?

If you want a nice smile and have crowns, the solution for teeth whitening for crowns is to change the colour of the surrounding natural teeth. There are three ways to do this:

  1. Be mindful of the crown shade: When you go for crowns, take a moment to think about the shade. You should always remember that since crowns cannot be whitened, your smile will only be as white as your crown. Work with your dentist to ensure the shade is ideal before placing your crowns. You will not want a shade that is too white if you know you are unlikely to maintain the shade.
  2. Do teeth whitening first: If you whiten your teeth first, you will then be able to match the crown shade. Should your teeth discolour in the future, you will be confident that you can always go back to the shade that matches your crown. Some people get the crown and then try to whiten their teeth to match the shade – this may not always work.
  3. Replace old crowns: In some cases, it is not possible to match the shade of the surrounding teeth with the crowns. The solution is to replace the crowns to match the teeth.

How to Whiten Porcelain Crowns by Cleaning Surrounding Teeth

In-office Teeth Whitening Procedures

These procedures are performed at dental offices because the whitener used has a stronger concentration and should only be handled by a trained professional. The dentist ensures the gum tissue is properly covered with a protective gel or a thin sheet of rubber before the application of the whitener. The whitener leaches through the enamel and has immediate results. Once the whitener is applied, it is given about 1 hour to work.

An important tip on how to whiten porcelain crowns is the use of laser to trigger chemical reactions and hasten to whitening. This is called laser or power whitening. The teeth should remain glossy for some years after power whitening.

OTC Whitening Products

Over-the-counter whitening products are readily available at your local pharmacy and from your dentist. The most common active components in these products are hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide, and other whitening chemicals. They work by polishing the surface of the enamel. You can use these products in the comfort of your home. You will be able to lighten the hue of your teeth over time with regular use of these products. At-home whitening kits from a dentist are usually more concentrated than what you buy at your local pharmacy and therefore have better results. These products include gels, trays, whitening toothpaste, pens, and strips. Your dentist can formulate your plan based on your specific needs. An example is having a special whitening tray that you can place on your upper and lower teeth as you sleep.

Do Whitening Toothpaste for Crowns Work?

When considering how to whiten crowns DIY, it is important to note that toothpaste and other moderately abrasive whiteners that are readily available in pharmacies work by scrubbing away the tiny stains you get when you eat or drink and will not boost the colour of the tooth enamel or whiten your teeth. Even when they have some impact, this is usually not long-lived. To whiten your teeth, you need a product or a method that permeates the enamel, not one that simply works on the surface.

Take Charge of your Dental Hygiene for White Teeth

You can prevent or reduce the severity of tooth discoloration by honing healthy habits. Floss daily and brush your teeth in the morning and before you sleep. Use whitening toothpaste that has the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. Consider sipping colas and other drinks that can stain your front teeth using a clean reusable straw. Drink water after taking drinks that contain acids or that are heavily pigmented.

So, can you whiten your crowns? The answer is yes and no. While you cannot whiten the crowns, you can whiten the teeth around the crowns to have a consistent shade. At Smiles On Queen, our team has the training and experience necessary to restore your smile, even if you have crowns. Other than cosmetic dentistry, we also offer Caledon and Bolton, ON patients general dentistry, dental implants, orthodontics, and other services.

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