Teeth Whitening for Teeth with Thin Enamel?

How do I whiten teeth with thin enamel that shows the dentin? I had acid reflux that is now under control. However my teeth are now yellow in hue due to my dentin. In office, and custom tray at home whitening have not helped.

Any suggestions other then expensive veneers?

Doctor Answers 8

Whitening is conservative, but not always the answer

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I am a big fan of whitening. It is conservative and very effective as long as your teeth have enough enamel. The yellow part showing through is most likely the dentin and whitening is intended to work on the enamel portion.

For patients who have lost enamel to the degree that you are describing, then a restorative option becomes the best choice. That includes veneers, if there is enough enamel to achieve good bonding, but may mean full coverage all ceramic crowns for the best long term solution.

Remember that you are not only looking to improve the way you look, but you need to restore your function today and for your future.

Whitening not always the answer

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

As you have found out, whitening is not always the full answer. 

In your case I doubt it has done any harm, but if the colour is not what you were looking for, veneers are likely to be the best answer.

You can go for composite veneers such as a product called Edelweiss, or a similar product from Coltene if your dentist provides it, or in office bonding of direct composite resins. 

Both are slightly cheaper but this is really a case if you get what you pay for. 

Good luck whatever you decide to do!

Thomas Dey, BDS, MSc 

Thomas Dey, BDS, MSc
Stevenage Dentist

Teeth that are eroded cant be whitened

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Teeth that have been eroded away by acid attack, either by reflux or acidic foods/ drink cannot be whitened with results. The dentin is exposed or very thin enamel has dentin show through. Veneers are the only way to improve the look of this condition

Jennifer Jablow, DDS
New York Dentist

You might also like...

Your best option is either veneers or crowns

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

With how much your enamel is eroded, whitening may not be the best option for you.  You could damage the pulp, and/or your teeth can become extremely sensitive after the procedure.  Also, the whitening procedure may not work for you.  With how much your enamel is gone, porcelain veneers or crowns will give you a whiter, and longer lasting, smile.

Lawrence Singer, DMD
Washington Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Crowns may be needed for heavily eroded teeth

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

If your teeth are so eroded that the dentin shows through the translucent enamel on the front part of your teeth, you may have already lost all of the enamel on the back of your teeth. Whatever is left ( the dentin) will wear down much more quckly and will not bleach to a satisfactory shade

You should consider all porcelain crowns to restore the contour and color of your teeth, and protect them from further breakdown.

Lorenzo Minniti, DDS
Alpharetta Dentist

Full crowns may be a better option

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

If the strength of your teeth is compromised by erosion then full porcelain crowns may be the best option.  Your teeth will get cosmetic improvement AND structural re-enforcement.

Daniel W. Schiavone, DDS
Rochester Dentist

Unfortunately, veneers or full porcelain crowns are the best option

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The thin enamel may get whitened, however the dentin never will. Additionally, you may traumatize the pulp (nerve) which sits under the dentin, with teeth whiteners.

Thank you for your question.

Anca Bazile, DDS
New York Dentist

There may be no other choice

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Unfortunately, not everything works for everybody. By doing a "Deep Bleaching" process, you may be able to get the enamel AND dentin to lighten. However, whitening of teeth is unpredictable. Some people lighten very well and others not as much.

Generally speaking, if you want whiter teeth, bleaching may satisfy you. If you have a specific level of white you are seeking, bleaching may be a frustrating process for you. Only porcelain crowns or veneers give you the control of the exact level of white you desire. If your enamel is very thin, you may get an added benefit of stronger teeth by placing porcelain on them, so the restorative work has a functional component and not just a cosmetic desire.

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.