Dental implants are useful and durable replacements for missing or damaged teeth. Often made from porcelain, implants are resistant to stains, wear and tear, and frequent breakage. If you already have dental implants, you may be considering getting your natural teeth whitened (if you notice that they're gradually becoming yellow).

So can you still whiten your teeth if you already have dental implants? Read on to find out.

Dental implants cannot be whitened

While your regular teeth can be whitened using various whitening products, dental implants will not respond to whitening. Remember that implants are synthetic products that mimic the look of natural teeth (but they're not the same). Because they're made from porcelain, implants are stain resistant and keep the same colour once installed. The same applies to crowns and veneers. It's often recommended to invest in cosmetic teeth whitening before implants are installed.

However, this doesn't mean you have to live with yellow teeth forever. There are several ways through which you can navigate this problem.

What you can do

If the implants are towards the back of your mouth

If you have the implant installed in one of your back teeth (where it's not very visible when you smile), you can simply whiten your teeth as normal. It will be difficult for anyone to notice that your teeth don't match your implant. Unless someone is physically examining your back teeth one by one, most people won't notice that the implant doesn't quite match the neighbouring teeth after whitening.

Select the right colour shades

In cases where the implant is towards the front of your mouth, you can whiten your teeth to match the shade of the implant. You will notice that if your natural teeth are getting yellow, there's probably a difference in shade with your current implant. A useful approach is to simply have your teeth whitened to match the colour of the implanted tooth.

Replace the implants

Another option available is to replace the implants after tooth whitening. This is the most effective way of ensuring a consistent shade of white across all your teeth.

Implants can be designed to match the exact colour of your teeth. Therefore, you can begin by whitening your natural teeth until you get the results you desire. Afterwards, have your dentist replace the crown of your dental implant to match your new smile. The good news is that you don't need to replace the entire dental implant, just the crown.