Cosmetic porcelain veneers will effectively improve your overall smile by changing the color, shape, and size of your teeth. Many patients turn to cosmetic porcelain veneers for a more permanent solution in perfecting their smile. After initially getting veneers, you may feel more confident than you ever have before about your new bright, straight smile. However, over time, veneers can become discolored, leaving you wondering if your veneers can be whitened.
How Porcelain Veneers Change Color
Porcelain veneers are custom-made shells that are made from tooth-colored materials and are used to enhance your natural smile by covering the front surface of each tooth. Because the shells are bonded to the front of each tooth, they are not noticeable and will appear as natural as the rest of your teeth. Veneers do not stain as easily as your natural tooth enamel, but porcelain veneers can still become discolored over time. Surface stains can develop after prolonged exposure to highly pigmented drinks like red wine and dark coffee.
Other occurrences that can cause cosmetic porcelain veneers to become discolored are:
Your Age. As we age, our gums recede, leaving the spots where the veneer meets the tooth exposed. This can cause little brown lines on your teeth because the veneers are bonded into place, and that composite is now showing. Foods and beverages dark in color, such as coffee, and wine have the potential for staining your exposed enamel, and gum recession cannot be reversed.
Trauma. If your tooth experienced an injury that caused the dentin, or the tooth’s inner tissue, to incur damage, the tooth could become discolored. Damaged dentin turns yellow, making the veneer appear discolored when it is the natural tooth underneath that is causing the appearance of discoloration.
Old Veneers. Veneers that were made over 20 years ago may not be made with porcelain. It was common for veneers to be made with plastic or more porous porcelain that is not as durable as the ones dental professionals use today.
Can You Whiten Veneers?
If your veneers begin to look yellow or brown, you may be tempted to try an at-home whitening treatment to restore their bright white color. However, porcelain veneers do not respond well to whitening treatments. This is why it’s always a good idea to talk to your dentist first before you whiten your teeth.
While you may be unable to whiten veneers with treatment, that doesn’t mean that you can’t improve the look of your veneers. Professional cleanings can help to remove surface stains, so regularly visiting your dentist will help to keep your veneers as bright as possible.
Properly Caring For Veneers
The best way to prevent stains on veneers is by caring for them as you would care for your natural enamel. Brushing your teeth after drinking coffee or any other dark-colored food or beverage may reduce the acidity and sugars that typically bond to your teeth after a meal. Brushing your teeth afterward with a soft-bristled toothbrush, or at a minimum, rinsing your mouth with water, will help to prevent stains. It’s also recommended to try to steer clear of color-saturated foods and drinks that can lead to staining in the first place.
Replacing Old Veneers With New Ones
Veneers let you easily whiten your smile. Help to keep your veneers looking brand new by taking adequate care of your investment. Avoid foods or drinks that have the potential to stain, brush your teeth regularly, and don’t forget to schedule professional cleanings every six months with your dentist.
If you have old veneers, your dentist may recommend replacing them with new ones if you find the discoloration cannot be reversed. Living with discolored veneers? Schedule a consultation appointment with Dr. de Jongh and restore your confidence in your smile.