e Do you want to whiten your teeth, but are you worried that your dental fillings will get in the way? Here’s everything important that you need to know about whitening dental fillings!
What Are Dental Tooth Fillings?
Dental tooth fillings are used to treat a small hole, or a cavity, in a tooth. The decayed tooth tissue is removed, and the space is filled with filling material. Materials used for fillings include gold, porcelain, a composite resin (tooth-colored fillings), and an amalgam (an alloy of mercury, silver, copper, tin, and sometimes zinc).
Crowns and veneers are also considered dental fillings. Crowns cover your whole tooth while veneers cover only the front portion of your tooth. These tooth fillings are also thicker and more permanent than veneers.
Dental fillings are very common. In fact, installing dental fillings is one of the most common procedures done in dental clinics for both children and adults.
Why Do Dental Tooth Fillings Get Stained?
Dental fillings can get stained for a variety of reasons.
- Time – The plastic that composes dental fillings slowly breaks down over time, turning the surface of the filling rough and porous.
- Lack of polish – Dental filings that are not polished until they are super smooth may result in a brown or black line.
- Improper cleaning of natural teeth – If the surface of the tooth is not perfectly cleaned before placing the filling, the glue used in the procedure will not stick properly and will instead stain under each filling.
- Improper drying of natural teeth – If the tooth is not perfectly dried, it will stain more quickly. However, this can be prevented by the use of a rubber dam.
- Bad quality glue – Always do your research on what glue your dentist uses as some that are marketed as “quick and easy” are of bad quality and turn yellow very easily.
Does Teeth Whitening Work On My Tooth Fillings?
On natural teeth, teeth whitening can turn your teeth a shade whiter than it already was. However, while it is generally considered safe to use whitening products with tooth fillings as it does not damage dental treatments, their effects are more limited. Teeth whitening can only bring your dental fillings back to their original shade or luster.
Clearly, teeth whitening works differently on dental fillings than it would natural teeth.
If you’re interested in getting your natural teeth and your dental fillings whitened, check out The Smile Bar, which has branches in Ayala Malls Vertis North and Uptown BGC. The Smile Bar is a teeth whitening salon that offers the fastest, most effective, and safest teeth whitening system in the Philippines. Their state-of-the-art technology can turn teeth an average of 5 shades lighter after just one 20-minute treatment session, and can also remove organic stains on crowns, bridges, and veneers to bring them back to their original shade or luster.
Whitening Options for Dental Fillings
Unfortunately, because teeth whitening can turn your teeth a whiter shade than it naturally is, but can only turn dental fillings back to their original shade, there is a chance of a mismatch between the shade of your natural teeth and your dental fillings.
However, don’t fret! There are many things you can do to correct this mismatch.
If your fillings are too dark, a cosmetic dentist can use dental composite to replace them with tooth-colored fillings that will be of the same shade as your bright smile. Tooth-colored fillings are known to be strong, comfortable, dependable, and mercury-free! They make your tooth less likely to break, insulate your teeth from the cold, and last for many years.
If you have metal fillings or amalgam fillings, teeth whitening is a bit trickier. Whitening will not change the look of the fillings themselves. However, they can easily be removed and replaced with a tooth-colored material. Non-metal or non-amalgam fillings are safer for your mouth, so changing them out is not only a cosmetic choice, but it is a way to boost your oral health too!
The Smile Bar’s Recommendation
The good news is, even with dental fillings, there’s nothing stopping you from getting your teeth whitened! However, while you have the option of replacing your dental fillings in the case of a mismatch, I recommend getting your teeth whitened before you get a crown, veneer, or filling. That way, you are spared from the hassle of possibly having to replace your existing filling with one that matches your newer, brighter smile.
If there really is no way for you to delay your appointment with the dentist, inform them of your plan to whiten your teeth so they can give you tooth-colored material that is a few shades lighter than your natural teeth. This may not yield a perfect match, as the same teeth whitening procedure can whiten one person’s teeth by four shades and another by eight shades. However, it still might make a mismatch look less obvious.
Another option you have is waiting to whiten your teeth, timing it with when you are already replacing your dental fillings. While dental fillings can last for a few years, they eventually need to be replaced because of constant stress from eating, drinking, tooth clenching, and tooth grinding.