Porcelain veneers are a great choice when seeking a smile makeover. Not only do they whiten teeth, but they also shape and size them for a better look overall. Those who choose veneers also tend to smile more confidently and worry less about their appearance. Yet, what if those veneers begin to dull in color or appear stained? Can they be whitened?
In cosmetic dentistry, porcelain veneers offer a long-term solution to discolored natural teeth. Affixed to front tooth surfaces, these thin-layered shells are highly durable and stain-resistant. If this is so, then how can discolorations or stains occur?
What Leads to Discoloration or Stains on Porcelain Veneers?
Different areas of your tooth can become discolored or stained. It may be the sides where your veneers attach or above or below them. Here are three reasons why this might occur.
- Less Porcelain Glazing: It’s the glaze that makes your veneers shine when you smile, and when this glaze begins to wear down, staining can potentially occur. Prolonged exposure to red wine or coffee is often the culprit.
- Receding Gums: Over the years, your gums begin to recede, resulting in a section of tooth now being exposed that wasn’t there when you first got the veneers. Since the veneer is designed in a dental lab to match the size of your tooth surface when first put in place, partial discoloration can occur on the bottom or top of your tooth as it is uncovered. This discoloration can further be darkened by the consumption of certain food and drinks.
- Tooth Trauma: If you experience some type of trauma to your mouth, a tooth’s inner tissue, or dentin, can become damaged. This, in turn, can lead to a darkening or discoloration of that tooth underneath the veneer. In other words, the veneer is not stained. It is the natural tooth underneath that has become discolored as a result of that trauma.
3 Ways You Can Whiten Porcelain Veneers
If you experience one of these or notice your veneers have lost their even coloring, consider the following three ways you can whiten your porcelain veneers or at least try restoring them to their original color.
1. Brush with Non-Abrasive Polishing Toothpaste
If the staining occurs around the edges of the veneer, try using a gentle polishing toothpaste to remove those stains and restore the whiter appearance overall. If the glazing is wearing down, this can also help revitalize the shine.
Avoid tooth-whitening toothpastes with bleach and harsh abrasives such as baking soda. These will work on your natural teeth only, whitening them in ways that may not match with your porcelain veneers. This will particularly be noticeable if you only have veneers on your front teeth and not those on either side.
2. Try a Tooth-Whitening System on the Backs of Your Teeth
Whether you have a browning or yellowing of your veneers or surrounding areas, your first thought may be to try a tooth-whitening system. Beware of the traditional whitening systems, however, as they are not designed for porcelain veneers.
The semi-translucent design of porcelain veneers allows light to partially pass through. The discoloration you see, then, may be due to the color of your natural teeth hiding behind the veneers. The solution may be to use a bleaching system on the backside of those teeth. This can lead to the whitening of the natural tooth itself, which then reflects through the semi-translucent porcelain veneer.
The last effect you ever want to create is damage to your porcelain veneers. It is highly recommended you speak with your cosmetic dentist before using any type of tooth-whitening system.
3. Make an Appointment with Your Dentist
Enhancing your smile with porcelain veneers is an investment, both financially and emotionally. Why risk damaging them? Instead, call and schedule an appointment with your dentist to find out the best way to whiten them to their original color.
In most instances, it’s the wearing down of the porcelain glaze that allows for staining and discoloration. Your cosmetic dentist will professionally clean them to bring back the luster they once had and address any issues.
Depending on the level of staining or discoloration, or the effects of receding gum lines, your only option, however, may be to replace the porcelain veneers altogether.
Let Stiles Dental Care in Medford, NJ Help
Improving your smile can naturally boost your confidence and cause you to share that smile more often. Selecting veneers to modify the color, shape, and size of your teeth is a great tool to achieve that goal. Once in place, they should remain stain-resistant, but there are times when discoloration may occur.
If this happens to you, let the professional staff at Stiles Dental Care help. We understand how veneers are bonded to your natural tooth enamel and what can affect them the longer they are in place. Contact our office today at (609) 451-2016 and schedule time to discuss your concerns with our experienced dentist.