When I was born, I was missing my two lateral incisors so I had two fake incisors placed in my mouth. Currently, I have a retainer and the two fake teeth replacing my laterals. My plan is to get implants in the next two years. I have very yellow teeth and want to whiten them a bit. Do fake teeth whiten?
– Dave in Oklahoma
The bad news is that prosthetic teeth do not whiten. Many patients do not realize it but only natural teeth whiten, meaning teeth with veneers, porcelain crowns, or composite bonding will not whiten, including your teeth on your retainer. The whitening agent must come into contact with a live surface, like your natural tooth. Whitening agents allow the pores in the enamel to open and remain open reaching the dentin, which is the underlying material in the tooth. The oxygen in the whitening agent penetrates the dentin layer where more whitening takes place and makes it last.
Teeth that have root canals with no porcelain crown on them will not whiten either unless your dentist preforms internal tooth bleaching. This is done by drilling a small hole behind the tooth and adding a whitening agent within the tooth. This procedure may whiten the tooth, however it may never get as white as the other teeth and it may require some type of permanent dental restoration placed on the surface to match the other teeth.
We recommend that you bleach your teeth approximately one month before your porcelain crowns are placed on the dental implants. This will make it easier for the dentist to match your new crowns to your new tooth color. If you are not interested in waiting two years to whiten your teeth, then whiten them now and have a new retainer made to match your new tooth color after you’re done with bleaching. It may cost you several hundred dollars for a new retainer, however if your tooth color is unsatisfactory to you, it may be worth the cost. If you elect to have your teeth whitened now, be sure you touch up your smile and whiten again right before your crowns are made.
This blog brought to you by Dr. Noah of Region Dental