Can Dental Crowns Be Whitened?

A lot of people have dental crowns or caps to help cover up or fix broken or decayed teeth. However, as time goes by and your teeth stain or start to suffer from discoloration, you might want to have them whitened. But can dental crowns be whitened?

In this guide, we'll cover all you need to know about whether or not dental crowns can be whitened and the best steps and methods to follow if you have one or more dental crowns and want to have teeth whitening.


About Teeth Whitening for Dental Crowns

Before we look if dental crowns can be whitened, it’s important to have a basic understanding of what dental crowns are. Dental crowns, also known as caps, are little tooth-shaped pieces of porcelain or composite that are installed over broken or decayed teeth.

You can almost think of dental crowns like little hats or covers for your teeth when they get damaged in some way. They provide a shield around the outside of the tooth and protect it from damages, while giving the appearance that all of your teeth are intact and healthy.

There are lots of reasons why people may need dental crowns installed, including:

  • Decay - If a tooth gets decayed, it may break down ever more if left exposed and could cause a lot of pain. Caps can be fitted over decayed teeth to prevent further damages.
  • Breaks - Teeth can break due to sudden impacts, injuries, or decay. A break may expose the nerves or feel uncomfortable in the mouth, and crowns can cover them up.
  • Discoloration - Teeth that are severely stained, discolored, or old may also be covered up with crowns to help make the mouth and smile look more harmonious.

Does Teeth Whitening Work on Dental Crowns?

As we can see, there are plenty of reasons why someone might need dental crowns, and lots of people all over the globe have them, but can you whiten crowns? Unfortunately, the answer is no, it’s not really possible to whiten crowns.

As explained above, crowns aren’t made from the same material as your teeth. Instead, they’re usually made of porcelain, and the chemicals used for teeth whitening simply don’t have the same lightening and brightening effects when applied to this material.

This is why, when installing crowns, dentists have to be very careful to match the color of the crown with the color of your existing teeth so that it doesn't stand out or look strange. And, over time, as your real teeth lose some of their whiteness, the crown may start to look out of place.


If you're planning to have your teeth whitened before getting a crown, the dentist will usually wait until the whitening procedure is complete and then pick a crown to match. And it can be a good idea to undergo whitening before a crown installation.

Do Dental Crowns Stain and Change Color?

So, it's not possible to whiten a crown, but can crowns change color just like natural teeth? Well, like almost any material, it is possible for porcelain crowns to gradually stain over time. This is especially true if the crown is exposed to the likes of tobacco smoke, red wine, and coffee.


However, crowns discolor at a much slower rate than regular teeth. So, you may find that your regular teeth start to stain or turn slightly yellow relatively quickly, while the crown still looks more or less the same color as it did when it was first fitted.

This can cause a problem for people with crowns, as the crown starts to look more and more different to the other teeth, and this is clear to see whenever the person laughs or smiles, which can lead to self-confidence and image issues.

Top Teeth Whitening Treatments

Fortunately, even though it’s not really possible to whiten crowns, you can undergo general teeth whitening treatments in order to lighten your teeth, get rid of stains, undo discoloration, and help your natural teeth blend much better with any crowns that you have. Here are just some of the whitening options available to you:

  • Clinical Whitening Treatments - Many dental clinics offer professional teeth whitening procedures and treatments involving the use of hydrogen peroxide and other chemicals to bleach the teeth and make stains disappear. Your local dentist may also be able to help match your teeth’s tone with your crowns as naturally as possible.
  • Whitening Toothpaste - One of the most affordable teeth whitening solutions is to use whitening toothpaste. It can take a lot of repeated use to see effects, and this isn’t the most effective option for those with severe discoloration, but good quality toothpastes can help to lighten your teeth by a couple of shades. Combining whitening gel with whitening toothpaste can give your whitening efforts a real boost.
  • Whitening Pens - There are also various over the counter teeth whitening products that you can find in drugstores and online, including teeth whitening pens. These whitening pens contain a special teeth whitening gel which you can effectively ‘paint’ onto your teeth to help stains fade away over time.
  • Whitening Strips - Whitening strips are another popular over the counter product for whitening teeth. They consist of thin strips that you can stick onto the front of your teeth, with a layer of whitening solution on one side that helps to make stains and discoloration fade away with repeated use.
  • Home Remedies - There are also certain home remedies and simple solutions that can be used to whiten teeth. Baking soda, for example, can be mixed with water in equal amounts to make a simple paste that helps to rub away surface stains from the top layer of teeth, and this can be a cheap and easily accessible option for some people.

The Importance of Precise Whitening with Crowns

Even though you can’t whiten crowns, it’s perfectly possible to keep the rest of your teeth white and bright to match them. However, since crowns are made in a specific shade, it’s really vital to ensure that you whiten your teeth correctly with the best possible products so that they blend well with the crowns and don’t look strange. Choose the right whitening option for you and take care to get the best results.