Dental implants are growing in popularity as a way for people to replace missing teeth – so much that the number is increasing by 500,000 each year.
When implants are placed in the mouth, much care is taken to make sure their shade matches the other teeth.
There may come a time, however, when you decide you want a whiter, brighter smile after receiving implants. What are my options? Can I whiten my teeth if I have dental implants?
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know regarding whitening dental implants.
First, the Bad News
The simple answer is unfortunately, dental implants cannot be whitened. They are almost always made of porcelain, which whitening agents have no effect on. Only natural teeth can actually be whitened with dental strips, a teeth whitening kit, or a dental bleaching agent.
The good news is dental implants are unlikely to stain as much as natural teeth, particularly if you take good care of them and clean them regularly. And if your dental implants were done to replace molars and other teeth in the back of the mouth, they’re not going to be seen anyway when you smile.
Having said that, perhaps you have implants that replaced front teeth and you’re interested in whitening them. There are some ways to accomplish this but they involve some dental work.
Replacing the Dental Implant Crown
One option is for your dentist to remove the crown portion of the dental implant and have it replaced with one in a lighter shade.
In this scenario, your natural teeth will be whitened first and then any dental implants or noticeable teeth with restorations will receive updated materials that match the shade of your lightened teeth.
Another solution is to receive veneers over your natural teeth and then have the crown of the dental implant replaced with one that is lighter. This requires more work and is also a costlier option. Your best bet is to consult a dentist who is experienced in cosmetic work to determine the right solution for our teeth.
How do I Prevent Implant Stains and Whiten my Teeth?
Prevention is really the key to keeping tooth discoloration away even from dental implants. First and foremost, dental implants and any teeth with restorations need to be cared for in the same manner as natural teeth. This means brushing them thoroughly twice a day and flossing at least once daily.
Cutting back on certain stain-causing foods such as wine, coffee, tea, and cola can also help. Drink or rinse your mouth with water after consuming these beverages. Teeth also naturally lose their luster and yellow with age.
Visiting your dentist every six months for a cleaning and check-up will also help remove superficial stains from natural teeth and implants. The dental hygienist uses a special non-abrasive paste to clean teeth and dental work.
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