As Americans place a greater emphasis on white, healthy teeth as a sign of attractiveness, many dental patients are struggling to brighten their smiles. Tooth whitening procedures can remove years of natural discoloration in just a few short sessions, but what if not every tooth in your mouth is natural? If you have crowns and are afraid of ending up with a mouth full of mismatched teeth, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that your newly whitened teeth will still match your dental work. 

Understanding The Difference Between Porcelain and Enamel

A dental crowns acts like a cap over your actual tooth, protecting the sensitive tissues inside from bacteria and trauma. It is usually made out of porcelain and manufactured to match the shade of your existing teeth when it is installed. Unfortunately, high-grade porcelain holds its color well and is very difficult to stain. Any tooth whiteners that are safe enough to use within your mouth will not be powerful enough to bleach a porcelain crown. A good cosmetic dentist should still be able to whiten your teeth with uniform results, either by matching the whitening to the crowns' shade or by replacing them with new ones. 

Color Matching With Your Crowns

Because porcelain is more resistant to stains than enamel, your teeth may have discolored noticeably since you had the crowns installed. In this case, whitening your teeth so that they are back to the shade of the crowns may be all that is needed to give you a vibrant, refreshed smile. Should you ever need a new crown in the future, consider having your teeth whitened before installation to keep this option open. It may take a few visits to get the shade just right, but this method of whitening with crowns is relatively easy and only requires periodic maintenance to preserve the color. 

Replacing Your Crowns To Match Whitened Teeth 

In other cases, your crowns may be much darker than your desired shade of white. This typically occurs when a crown is colored yellow to match your original teeth or has been stained by tobacco or coffee. These crowns cannot be effectively whitened and will need to be replaced during a tooth whitening procedure. Your dentist will begin by whitening your teeth, including the old crowns, and then design new crowns based on your teeth's new shade. This method takes a little more time and is slightly more expensive, but if you are serious about improving your smile through cosmetic dentistry, it is well worth the extra effort.