Can I Whiten My Crowns?

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Hi, I’m Dr. B, practicing functional dentist for 35 years. I graduated from the Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, CA in 1987 and am a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), Academy of General Dentistry (Chicago, IL), American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH), and Dental Board of California. I'm on a mission to empower people everywhere with the same evidence-based, easy-to-understand dental health advice that my patients get. Learn more about Dr. B
Whitening gels only work on natural teeth and have no effect on crowns. Here’s what to do if you want to whiten your dental crowns.

Q:

I am still perplexed as to why they haven't invented whiteners for crowns. Do I still have to replace my crowns to get them whiter or do I need to opt for veneers?

A: I’m surprised too, as the new products and techniques in dentistry just keep coming in. We can whiten porcelain crowns, veneers, and fillings; we just can’t-do it in the mouth!

The whitening gels we use to whiten teeth only work on natural teeth and have no effect on porcelain surfaces.

If you have crowns now, you can’t go back to veneers. Plastic fillings and bonding technically do not respond to the whitening process. I say “technically” because if the bonding is thin enough, it will seem as if the tooth has lightened when the lighter tooth surface will show through.

So the answer is “yes,” you do need to replace your crowns if you want them to match your whiter teeth. However, I would do this after you whiten your teeth so that your dentist knows the exact color to match to. Wait two weeks until after you are satisfied with your whitening before replacing your crowns.

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