Will Tooth Whitening Treatments Affect Your Fillings?

Posted on: 13 April 2016

Tooth whitening treatments don't always work the same across all your teeth. Issues like staining and existing dental work may affect the evenness of the treatment and the shades of white you can achieve. How do fillings affect your whitening results and will your fillings be damaged when you whiten your teeth?

Bleach May Not Affect the Shade of Your Fillings

According to CHOICE Australia, the bleaches used in tooth whitening products and treatments don't typically affect the current colour of dental work like fillings. This may leave you with uneven shades of white when you bleach your teeth. For example, the tooth around a filling may move up to a whiter shade but the filling won't change colour. This may not be an issue to you if your fillings are out of sight or in the back of your mouth but it may make a noticeable difference if you bleach filled front teeth.

If you aren't sure how your fillings will affect the whitening effect of bleaching, ask your dentist for advice on the effects you may get. If the colour of your fillings won't match your new shade of white, you can have the fillings replaced after tooth whitening to match your new colour. Bear in mind that your dentist may advise that you wait a while before replacing miscoloured fillings to allow the whitening effects of your treatment to settle down to a final shade.

Bleach May Damage Your Fillings

In some cases, you may notice that your fillings become less effective over time after you whiten your teeth. While bleaching may not change the colour of fillings, it may affect their strength and durability.

For example, you may experience the following effects on your fillings if you bleach your teeth, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information:

  • The bleach in whitening treatments may roughen up the surface of a filling. This may increase the chances of decay as a rough surface allows bacteria to latch on to the filling which is supposed to keep bacteria out of the tooth.
  • Whitening products may affect the strength of a filling. If a filling becomes softer or weaker than it should be it may leak, giving bacteria access to the inside of the tooth, or it may become loose over time.

Bleaching damage to fillings doesn't happen to everyone. You may be more likely to suffer from these issues if your fillings are old and already a bit compromised or if you use a lot of bleaching products. Your dentist can advise you on possible side effects; in some cases, you may be advised to replace older fillings after you've whitened your teeth to avoid any problems.