Whitening Teeth With Fillings: How to Achieve the Best Results

Dentist Blog

Teeth whitening is your way of giving your teeth some assistance to look their best. Of course, your teeth may have needed a different type of assistance in the past. Although a cavity is corrected with the objective of making the filling look like it's a natural part of your dental enamel, it's not in fact a natural part of your tooth. As such, there are certain considerations when you whiten teeth that have had cavities filled in the past. So can you actually whiten teeth with fillings?

Camouflaged Restorations

Metal amalgam fillings are increasingly rare these days, and most patients want their fillings to look like a natural part of their tooth. This is why your dentist will have filled your cavity with a tooth-coloured dental resin, carefully selected to match the colour of your surrounding dental enamel—essentially camouflaging the restoration. That resin will not respond to the active ingredient in the whitening gel you use.

Best and Worst-Case Scenarios

At best, your efforts will lead to an obvious colour mismatch. Your dental enamel will whiten, but the filling will not, making it look like a slightly discoloured island surrounded by the white ocean of your enamel. At worst, your attempts at whitening will damage the resin, causing it to corrode (which may permit bacteria and other contaminants to enter the tooth). This is more of a concern with older fillings, which will need to be replaced in the not too distant future, regardless of any whitening efforts. Basically, you can't effectively whiten teeth with fillings. Your dentist, however, can.

Whitening With Fillings

You and your dentist will discuss the level of whiteness you want to achieve. They might discourage you from attempting a Hollywood style of dazzling whiteness, as this doesn't always look natural, and is harder to maintain. But once a decision is made, your fillings will be replaced with a composite dental resin of the intended shade, and your enamel will then be bleached to match the colour of the filling. This allows the restoration to remain camouflaged. You can maintain this colour at home (ask your dentist to make you a customised applicator tray for the best results), but you might find it easier to have your dentist perform the work as part of your regular checkups. 

Whitening teeth with fillings will result in the filling becoming far more obvious (and can potentially damage the restoration). It's in your best interests to get some professional assistance when whitening teeth that have needed repairs in the past.


23 February 2022

Dental Checkups: Preparing for Your Checkup

Hi! My name is Sarah, and as a busy professional, I understand the importance of making the most of my time. That includes everything from having productive working lunches to making the most of my dental checkups. I have created this blog to help you maximise your dental checkups. In these posts, you can learn how to prepare for your checkup, which questions to ask during your checkup and more. I am also going to have posts explaining why checkups are critical to your dental health as well as the health of your entire body. Happy reading, and thanks for visiting my blog!