Teeth whitening is generally a safe and effective procedure, but what if you have dental fillings? Can you still safely whiten your smile? Here are some tips to help you decide how to approach teeth whitening if you have dental fillings.
1. Rest Assured: It's Safe!
The good news is that professional teeth whitening does not cause damage to either old-fashioned amalgam fillings or the more modern composite kind. You can also safely use home whitening products, as long as you follow the instructions carefully. Approved products for home teeth whitening contain mild concentrations of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which does not corrode dental fillings.
2. Manage Your Expectations
Note that standard methods of teeth whitening do not remove stains from composite dental fillings. If you have fillings in your front teeth that have become stained through contact with coffee, nicotine, tea, red wine, or other stain-causing materials, your best option is to consult a dentist. If you let them know you have fillings that need to be whitened along with the rest of your smile, they may be able to file a layer of material from your fillings, apply a new layer of composite material, or even replace the fillings entirely to give the results you are hoping for.
3. Use Only Approved Teeth Whitening Methods
If you have fillings in your teeth, it is more important than ever to use only dental products that have been approved by the Australian Dental Association. Teeth whitening kits sold in pharmacies are safe, but steer clear of self-proclaimed health gurus online promoting "natural" methods of teeth whitening, many of which use acidic fruits such as lemons or strawberries.
There is no evidence that natural fruit acids can remove stains from either teeth or dental fillings. All acids weaken tooth enamel, which could lead to a resurgence of the decay that led to you needing dental fillings in the first place. If you are thinking of whitening your smile, play it safe and consult your dentist for advice.
4. Use Whitening Toothpaste After Treatment
In general, stains build up faster on natural teeth than they do on dental fillings. If you have fillings in your front teeth, this fact can lead to a mismatch between the colour of your fillings and the colour of your natural teeth. You can reduce the build-up of stains by using whitening toothpaste between whitening treatments.
To learn more about teeth whitening, talk to your dentist.