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With the increasing popularity of dental implants as a solution for missing or severely decayed teeth, many people are curious about their options for achieving a brighter smile. But can you whiten teeth with dental implants? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you may have thought.
What are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are artificial teeth with “roots” made of biologically compatible metal. The implants are surgically fixed into the jawbone to replace missing teeth. They provide a strong foundation on which to place crowns or dentures, which are custom-made to match the color, size, and shape of your natural teeth.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Teeth whitening is a common cosmetic dental procedure that lightens the color of your teeth by removing stains and discoloration caused by various factors, including smoking, aging, and consuming certain foods and drinks. The most common teeth whitening methods involve the use of bleaching agents, which break down stains, making the teeth appear whiter and brighter.
Can Dental Implants Be Whitened?
The short answer is no. Dental implants themselves cannot be whitened. The crowns or dentures attached to implants are made from porcelain or other dental materials that do not respond to traditional teeth whitening methods.
Dental Implant Teeth Whitening Options
So, what can you do if you want a whiter smile with dental implants? While you can’t whiten dental implants directly, you still have options for achieving a brighter smile.
Professional Whitening Before Your Implant
One option is to get your teeth professionally whitened before your implant is placed. That way, your implant can be matched to your brighter, whiter smile. This is the best option if you do not have your implant yet and you know you want to whiten your teeth. Keep in mind, however, that your natural teeth can stain and become discolored again, while your implant will remain the same color. It is possible you will have to whiten your teeth again in the future, especially if you don’t take precautions to preserve your whitening results.
Teeth Whitening with an Implant
Professional teeth whitening procedures performed by a dentist can still be an effective way to whiten your natural teeth surrounding the dental implant. But remember, this method will only whiten your natural teeth, not the dental implant or the prosthetic tooth attached to it. The good news is that these treatments will not harm your implant. Therefore, if your implant is not very visible, whitening your teeth will not be problematic at all.
If you already have a dental implant, it is in a prominent location, and there is a significant color difference between your natural teeth and the implant, your dentist may recommend other options to create a more uniform appearance.
Replacement of the Implant-Supported Tooth
If your natural teeth have been whitened and there is a noticeable color difference between them and your implant-supported tooth, replacing the prosthetic tooth with a whiter one might be the best solution. Luckily, you will typically not need a new implant, just a new crown that matches the color of your whitened natural teeth.
Consult with your dentist to determine the best course of action. They may need to remove the existing crown and take new impressions of your teeth to create a custom replacement that matches the desired shade.
Whitening Toothpaste and Over-the-Counter Products
Using whitening toothpaste and other over-the-counter teeth whitening products, such as strips or pens, can have a whitening effect. However, these products typically have a lower concentration of bleaching agents than professional whitening treatments and may not produce the same level of whitening.
As with other teeth whitening methods, these products will not whiten the dental implant or prosthetic tooth. They can also be abrasive. It’s important to discuss these products with your dentist, especially if you have sensitive teeth or other dental concerns.
Do You Want a Whiter Smile?
Are you ready to take the next step toward a brighter, more confident smile? Schedule a consultation with our office today to discuss which teeth whitening options are best for you and your dental implants.