Can I bleach my teeth that don’t have porcelain veneers?

I have porcelain veneers on my front teeth and I was wondering if I can whiten my non-veneered teeth with over the counter bleaching products, like Crest Whitestrips. Will products like this cause damage to my veneers? My other teeth have become yellow since I have had my porcelain veneers placed and you can tell the difference between the teeth with veneers and the teeth without veneers. Can my teeth be bleached to match the veneers without causing damage?

- Carla in Virginia

Carla,

There are many over the counter products including Crest Whitestrips and other generic products. Only those that are comparable to Crest Whitestrips would be the ones that may work for limited situations. This is because the peroxide bleaching gel is attached to the strip itself. So when the strip is affixed to the tooth it allows the gel to penetrate making them whiter.

There are many other products out there like rinses, toothpastes, and powders but they just don’t penetrate deep enough into the tooth to do much good. Also, some of these products have acidic properties like citric acid that actually etches the tooth surface. What happens then is that the etched surface picks up additional staining. So I’d stay away from those products for your teeth in general since they have damaged teeth. They may make the teeth seem whiter for a short time and then they will become even darker than they were originally.

As I mentioned above, Whitestrips may work if you apply them to your non-veneered teeth. But the main issue with this plan is that since your porcelain veneers cover your six front teeth, you will need to apply the strips to the teeth that are further back in your mouth. This may require some handy work because you may have to cut the strips to fit them appropriately on the back teeth. Also, the teeth whitening process with Whitestrips takes awhile and the results are gradual and slow. By the time you purchase enough of the product and repeat the process you will have ended up spending a good amount of money and ultimately the results may not be what you were hoping for.

The bleaching agent itself will not harm the veneers but they will remain unaffected. They may look slightly whiter and this is due to the the fact that the tooth behind the veneer may be whitened. But the veneer will not be whitened.

Therefore, for a more effective and longer-lasting results, I’d recommend visiting acosmetic dentist to have the teeth whitening done professionally. The peroxide that is used in the dentist office is much more powerful and can target the specific teeth you would like to have whitened. It can be done to match your veneers perfectly. Also, many times a dentist office offers specials on teeth bleaching if you are a new patient. And although cosmetic dentistry is an art, when it comes to teeth whitening it is a common enough procedure that you may be able to take advantage of a good deal. Although, I cannot tress enough how you should not price shop when it comes to porcelain veneers,dental implants, porcelain crowns, or any other cosmetic procedure. You need to seek out the talents of a true cosmetic dentist when you are seeking that kind of work.

Best of luck to you.

This post is sponsored by Mt. Pleasant dentist Dr. Jared L. Slovan, DMD.