Teeth Whitening Before Dental Crowns and Veneers?

I'm planning to get 4 crowns and 4 veneers on my top front teeth. I was told that I should whiten my teeth first before the procedure. Is that true? I figure since the teeth would be covered, I don't need to whiten them.

Doctor Answers (10)

Whitening before crowns and veneers is debatable

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There are a few things to consider if you whiten before crowns and veneers. If porcelain will cover ALL teeth that show, there isn't much point, as the desired color can be prescribed to the lab.
If some natural teeth will show, they can be whitened and the final shade of porcelain can be chosen to match. But consider that ALL bleaching is temporary. In time, teeth will darken, perhaps only slightly. If the veneers are thin, this darkening will shine through and the veneers will protect the teeth from whitening gels for future treatment.
Or in the case where some teeth not covered in porcelain still show in a smile, these teeth will need to be maintained to keep them matching the adjacent teeth.
If the decision is already made and whitening IS to be done, it should be done prior to porcelain. Whitening is unpredictable, so you can't "bleach to match" (place veneers on uppers and bleach lowers afterwards) as the teeth may not whiten as much as hoped.
It is not unusual to bleach, place veneers, and then years later be disappointed. The smile that was perfect on the day the veneers were placed is now yellower, as the veneers were SO thin that the natural darkening of teeth is shining through (or edges of veneers show due to natural tooth showing). Dentists without enough experience would not know this, and would not know to avoid the situation.

Seattle Cosmetic Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Whitening before veneers

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The suggestion to whiten your teeth before placing crowns and veneers is related more to your other teeth than to the teeth being treated.  Over the counter and professional whitening products only work on natural tooth enamel.  They will not alter the color of tooth colored composite or porcelain restorations.

Especially if you are having this dental work done for cosmetic reasons, you will want to have the crowns and veneers designed to match your remaining teeth.  Whitening in advance allows you to obtain the tooth shade you want and match the dental work to that shade.  If the natural teeth darken sometime later, you will be able to whiten the natural teeth to match the unalterable dental work.

If the teeth to receive the dental work are heavily discolored, whitening before design and placement can provide a better cosmetic result.

Marc Zive, DMD
Springfield Cosmetic Dentist

Veneers vs. Whitening vs. Both. Which one?

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What I have found is that teeth will relapse (darken) in their shade over time following whitening. That is why we recommend doing touch-ups periodically. Veneers are thin translucent pieces of porcelain that are color stable and when placed over a tooth let the natural coloring of the tooth show through. That is why they look so natural. I have found that if the teeth are whitened prior to veneer placement that the teeth under the veneer will relapse (darken) over time and the veneer will become darker and will be unable to be touched-up with whitening because of the porcelain covering. This will cause the veneered teeth to no longer match the crowns or other teeth. I prefer to build the desired shade in the color stable porcelain veneer and not whiten prior to placing the veneers. Thus achieving a long lasting esthetic result. You will want to whiten any teeth in your smile that will not be crowned or veneered prior so as to match the porcelain to your desired whitened shade of your natural teeth.

James Powell, DDS
Lancaster Cosmetic Dentist

Whitening Before Veneers

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It is a good idea to whiten teeth before getting front veneers so you can match the shade of the veneers with the new shade of adjacent teeth.  Veneers can not be whitened.  Any whitening done after the veneers are cemented will whiten the natural teeth next to the veneer but not the veneer itself, causing a shade discrepency.  Best, Dr. Elizabeth Jahanian.

Elizabeth Jahanian, DDS
Los Angeles Cosmetic Dentist

Whitening before crowns not needed if you're very happy with your teeth color

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If you are very happy with the color of your teeth then no, you do not need to whiten them first. Keep in mind that veneers and crowns are made of porcelain and once placed in the mouth the only way to whiten or change the color is have them redone.

If you would like a whiter and brighter smile then consider whitening your teeth before you have the crowns and veneers placed. In my office I recommend for my patients to whiten their teeth first, then do the veneers/crowns to match. This is ideal, all the teeth are same color resulting in a great smile!

Michael Ayzin, DDS
Costa Mesa Cosmetic Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Teeth whitening usually done before veneers or crowns

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I always feel that I whiter background gives the Veneer a better color, so I usually recommend it to my Veneer patients. Actually, most of my patients have already whitened before their veneers anyway. Also, your lower teeth will match the upper ones better after whitening.

Michael J. Thomas, DDS
Los Angeles Cosmetic Dentist
1.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Whiten your teeth before you get veneers

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Here are the top 3 reasons, I would encourage someone to whiten their teeth before getting veneers.

1. If your bottom teeth are not white enough, you could whiten them to better select the color for the top teeth.

2. If you have white top teeth, you can make the veneers thinner and thus more conservative which is a big deal when it comes to longevity of the restorations.

3. If the teeth are white underneath, it is less critical if the porcelain doesn't completely cover every portion of the tooth.

Some of these are less important than others, depending on what your circumstances are. A good cosmetic dentist can help you decide what is best for you.

M. Andrew Atwood, DDS
Bellevue Cosmetic Dentist
3.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Whiten prior to veneers or crowns

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Unless you are putting veneers or crowns on 8 to ten top and bottom teeth, you should whiten your teeth. Once the porcelain is bonded you are married to the color that was chosen to blend in with your natural teeth. Therefore get the teeth you are not treating lightened first and then match the porcelain. It may also help you and the dentist decide how many teeth to treat if the teeth don't respond to whitening, you may decide to treat more teeth.

Jennifer Jablow, DDS
New York Cosmetic Dentist

Whitening and Porcelain Restorations: Which treatment goes first?

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I also tell my patients to whiten while you're waiting to start the process. First -- your lower teeth will better match the new uppers -- also -- your dentist may be trying to get your upper teeth (the ones which will be veneered) whiter so that the veneers covering them may be thinner. Congrats on moving forward with a new smile!

Susan Goode Estep, DMD
Atlanta Cosmetic Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

It's not absolutely necessary

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If I understand you correctly, you will be covering the top 8 teeth in your mouth.  Sometimes more than this number of teeth show when you smile.  If you are planning to make your crowns and veneers whiter than your natural teeth that show, now would be the best time to bleach your teeth.  You could then pick a lighter shade for your restorations that matches or blends with the lighter shade of your teeth.  It also depends if your bottom teeth show when you smile.  Some people only show their upper teeth and then it is not as crucial to whiten the bottom ones.  Some people, like movie star Julia Roberts for example, show upper and lower teeth when they smile and for people like that it would be good to whiten their teeth first.

It all depends on your GOALS for your mouth.  Look at your smile see what makes you most comfortable.

Martin Frankel, DDS
Toronto Cosmetic Dentist
3.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.