People having fillings on their teeth for many years (especially in their front teeth) tend to notice their teeth becoming discolored due to the contrast effect.
Therefore, the first option which comes to mind is to get them whitened using some DIY techniques or even in-office whitening treatments.
Yet, this is not a regular process that you can perform just like if you don’t have fillings. In fact, they don’t react the same to whitening treatment like the enamel does.
Therefore, even if your smile may look awkward, due to the color difference between your teeth and dental fillings. You still need to be careful and not rush by using any whitening product or any cosmetic dental treatment.
Teeth whitening with fillings is a totally different process and may vary depending on many factors that I breakdown in this complete guide.
In this article, I talk about the different ways you could whiten your teeth with fillings, the downsides of some whitening products on your fillings and how to make the process successful following different approaches.
How to whiten stained fillings?
This is a very common question lots of people are asking …
… But before talking on how to whiten teeth with fillings on them, let’s talk about the possible ways to whiten these fillings themselves, especially when they are stained.
So, Does teeth whitening work on fillings?
There is almost ZERO chance to whiten your fillings directly even if they are stained. Fillings just don’t respond to regular or peroxide whitening products.
There are even some downsides of using these peroxide whitening products directly with fillings.
This is valid for both amalgam fillings and white dental fillings.
1. Amalgam fillings
As you probably know, amalgam fillings are mainly based on mercury (50%), Silver (up to 32%), copper (8%) as well as other metals. In fact, some studies have shown that applying peroxide on these kinds of fillings release silver and mercury.
This happens 3 or 4 days after the exposure.
This effect may be even more important and quicker whenever peroxide concentrations are higher.
In addition, this metal release is more likely to happen when the fillings are newly restored. That’s why any whitening process or over-the-counter products usage should be postponed few weeks after fillings placement.
The older these amalgam fillings are, the less likely any metal release is going to happen due to peroxide exposure.
Moreover, high peroxide concentrations may tarnish silver fillings and may even cause some discolorations on them which tend to the green color. This is even more likely to happen following a long treatment period.
In that case, when a long whitening treatment is needed cosmetic dentists tend to replace amalgam fillings with white ones before starting the process.
But, practically people with silver fillings that were exposed to whitening treatment did not have any accident according to some authoritative sources.
To sum up, even it is not really a big deal, replacing amalgam fillings with white ones before whitening treatment sounds the best option in that specific case.
2. White fillings
Some studies (not all of them) confirm that after exposing white fillings to considerable peroxide concentrations (3.6% or higher) the surface become rougher microscopically.
There is even a chance (a small one) that white fillings hardness could be affected which may cause micro-leakage. This would hurt your filling’s integrity and may push you to replace them sooner rather than later.
In addition, any texture surface change would make it much easier to plaque to build up on your teeth. This would lead to a hard time removing stains and even tooth decay formation.
Another possible consequence is the difficulty to maintain your gum healthy if the rough fillings are touching it.
Peroxide whitening products may somehow make your white fillings brighter, but there are 2 reservations about that:
- If this brighter happen it is hardly noticeable, it is very marginal.
- This effect is really very rare, that is, in most cases whitening treatments have zero effect on your white fillings.
Some dental professionals use plastic methylmethacrylate as white fillings. In this case, you should not use peroxide whitening as they easily develop orange stains which won’t look good.
In this case, you should consider changing them to regular white fillings.
3. So, No chance to remove fillings stains?
To answer that question, I would say that even if there is a chance (you’ve probably heard about somewhere else), you just should not try it!
In fact, as it was explained above applying whitening products won’t help at all removing fillings stains!
Trying to whiten them will make the discolored fillings seem much more noticeable!
The best option is to change your fillings to a better color so it would match your teeth shade.
However, if you have any intention to whiten your teeth, you should let fillings change as the last task to execute.
In other words, if you change your fillings right now, then you get your teeth whitened and right after you may find out your teeth shade and front fillings shade totally different.
You will have to change your front filling to match your teeth shade once again which is not cool at all!
I talk below about the different ways you should whiten your teeth with fillings on them.
How to whiten teeth with fillings?
To whiten your teeth with bonded or front fillings, you’ve got basically tons of options. Yet, I would recommend 3 different ways to do it.
1. Cosmetic dentist
Probably, you’ve never visited a cosmetic dentist before, if so, try to find a good one by asking for a recommendation of a dentist you’ve already visited.
Try to ask your dentist to write a short summary about your oral state to make the task much easier for the cosmetic dentist.
Normally, a legit cosmetic dentist should take care of you. Here are the outlines of what you should expect from him.
- It is crucial that the dentist makes sure your teeth have no decay on them (It is bad to whiten teeth with decay).
- If not, he will remove them and put some temporary filling that should be re-surfaced or replaced by the end of the process.
- The cosmetic dentist will present you a template of how your teeth are going to look like after the whole process’s done.
- After, you’ve agreed to the template, he will plan a professional teeth whitening schedule which should be customized according to your teeth sensitivity and shape.
- After you’ve followed the schedule and reached the shade you are looking for.
- You should give your teeth few weeks to rest. In fact, after undergoing the whitening process, it takes time for your teeth color to stabilize as this process dehydrates them for a while.
- After your teeth get hydrated and their shade stabilizes. The cosmetic dentist will either replace the current filling with a new one or just re-surface the already existing one if he thinks they are good enough and are sticking well. This is crucial to make your fillings match your teeth new shade.
At the end of the process you should be happy with the results.
The only drawback I see about this method is the cost involved. I mean, these kinds of operations can easily costs more than $1000 and may even reach few thousands of dollars depending on the cosmetic dentist you are dealing with and also depending on the complexity of the operation.
2. Whitening products and cleaning techniques
It is very important to combine constant cleaning with some whitening techniques using over-the-counter products. I’ve said this in several posts in this Blog: whitening non-clean teeth is a waste of time and energy.
So, how to whiten teeth with fillings using whitening products and cleaning techniques?
a. Cleaning techniques
Let’s breakdown what would make your teeth consistently clean with filling. In fact, there are mainly 2 different ways you can make sure your teeth are clean and ready to be whitened.
Brushing your teeth
You should brush your teeth twice up to 3 times a day, preferably, half an hour after each meal. Keep in mind that it’s easy for foods residue to build up in and around your fillings. Thus, by brushing you will make sure this won’t occur.
I would say, it is Okey to use any regular toothpaste. Yet, it would be much better to use fluoride free toothpaste for brushing. I suggest an Aloe Vera based toothpaste; they are really good and help improving your oral health in general.
Brushing with a quality toothbrush will make the process even more successful, especially for teeth with fillings on them. In this case, I encourage you to opt for a legit Electric toothbrush. You can check this Sonicar Electric toothbrush on Amazon.
Flossing your teeth
Flossing plays a huge role on a long term avoiding obscure deep stains between your teeth. In other words, flossing on a daily basis helps anticipating and preventing these kinds of stains.
Otherwise, these stains may become permanent and need professional interventions to remove them.
As you’ve got fillings on your teeth, you don’t have to floss too hard. Pressure of the floss may even pull your dental fillings. Try to avoid this by letting go of one end of your floss and pull it out to the side.
Once a day and half an hour before you go to bed is probably the best timing to floss. By doing so for one or two minutes, you will remove foods residue of the whole past day easily.
b. Whitening products
We are talking here about peroxide whitening products!
As it was detailed earlier in this article, teeth whitening with fillings using these products may have some repercussions (not a big deal) if used improperly.
That’s why, in my option you should apply the whitening gel only on your teeth and avoid applying it on fillings as much as you could. I mean, it won’t really be that bad if it touches them few times, yet, the less the better.
For that reason, I would recommend to use a teeth whitening pen.
A whitening pen is easy to use, and helps to target the spots you want to whiten without touching your fillings which is perfect.
In that case, I suggest this teeth whitening pen, it is a good choice to start with.
c. What should you do next?
After few weeks of cleaning and whitening, you should start noticing your teeth becoming whiter for sure.
At this stage, you should stop whitening your teeth and wait for few days, probably one week to let your teeth shade stabilizes.
If you are happy with how your teeth shade looks like with your composite fillings, you can consider the job is just done.
Otherwise, the remaining task would be changing your fillings at your dentist’s office and making them match your new teeth shade.
2. Natural Home Remedies
This is a less common aspect of this subject, as few orthodontists consider this possibility.
However, I think it is possible to get good results by using some natural whitening hacks which are usually cheap and easy to implement.
So, how to whiten teeth with fillings using the natural approach?
There many aspects to talk about to cover this subject, yet, I will list only 3 of them.
a. Avoiding bad habits
Alcohol, smoking, fast food as well as many other bad habits won’t only decrease your oral health and make your teeth look yellowish; they will also remove and stain your fillings which would oblige you to change them regularly.
These bad habits may also increase cavities on your teeth which will push you to add more fillings on your teeth which is not cool at all!
To sum up, if you adopt the best whitening strategies without getting rid of these detrimental habits, you will never get any results. You may even get opposite results in some cases.
b. Implement a good diet
I don’t mean you should implement a Michael Phelps diet or something like that. You only need to include more fruits and vegetables in your daily nutrition.
Apple, carrot, strawberry, banana … and so many others are all great for your teeth. They even help you to produce saliva which washes your mouth consistently.
Drinking more water is very helpful as well.
c. Teeth Whitening 4 you
This is an actionable program that educates you on many different ways to whiten your teeth naturally. The good thing about it is that you don’t need any expensive ingredients to prepare home whitening remedies.
You may even find some ingredients already in your kitchen, which is even better (olive oil for example).
I’ve written a complete review about this program in which I’ve tried to cover lot of details about it so you could make the decision whether it good for you or not.
You can check this complete review by clicking here.
Finally, many people are reluctant whether to opt for teeth whitening with filling or not. That’s why, I’ve tried in this article to show that it is possible to do it and get amazing results as far as you are doing the right thing.
Some experts think you should consider veneers or crowns instead of teeth whitening with filling.
For me, I would say no, as my wife had a bad experience with crowns that I may talk about in a future article.
Remember; never replace your fillings right away. Always wait, until your teeth shade is stabilize before updating your composite fillings so they would match the new established shade.