I am almost done paying for my porcelain veneers. I’m a little worried because they have started picking up stains around the edges. I do smoke. I’m wondering if my smoking is the problem. If so, shouldn’t my dentist have warned me about this? I was told they were very stain resistant. What should I do?
As long as your porcelain veneers still have their glaze, they are very stain resistant. In fact, they are more stain-resistant than your natural teeth. However, there are things that can damage the glaze. If your hygienist used something like a power prophy jet during your cleaning, or even acidulated fluoride, the glazing would be damaged enough.
Once that happens, they quickly begin to pick up stains. I don’t think this is your problem, though. If that were to happen, the staining would be over the whole tooth and you’re saying it’s just on the edges.
To me, this is saying the major problem you’re facing is with the resin which is used to bond your porcelain veneers to your teeth. Your dentist likely polished these when you first had the veneers placed. However, these can stain. They’ll stain faster if you smoke.
In the meantime, you still need to have these stains dealt with. I want you to go back to your cosmetic dentist and have him polish the sides. They should use an ultra-fine polishing strip in this area and a special ultra-fine aluminum oxide polishing paste. This will help with the staining and increase the longevity of your smile investment.
Don’t have your family dentist try to do this. Most of the time, knowledge like this is limited to those who’ve studied cosmetic dentistry.
I had porcelain veneers placed on about a month ago. Two of them have fallen off. I went in to see my dentist about it. He agreed to bond them back on free of charge. When I asked them why they fell off, he got offended and blamed my mouthwash. Is that accurate? Am I damaging my porcelain veneers?
There are certain mouthwashes that could (eventually) cause a problem with your porcelain veneers. I doubt any of them would cause them to fall off that quickly. It sounds like your dentist is passing the buck for his poor bonding technique.
Most mouthwashes are fine to use with your dental implants. The ones to watch out for containing alcohol. Listerine is the biggest culprit. It can contain up to 21% alcohol. If you avoid that ingredient, you should be fine and there are plenty of brands to choose from. Crest Pro-Health and Breath-Rx are two alcohol-free brands. Many dental offices even sell it in-office.
I’m a little concerned with the response your dentist gave you. I don’t like it when professionals don’t take responsibility for their mistakes. The bonding on porcelain veneers is quite strong and, when properly done, lasts the lifetime of the veneers. Yes, there are things which can damage it, but rarely is that seen to wear down so quickly. Is your dentist one who does a lot of cosmetic procedures or just a family dentist who dabbles in cosmetic work? That can make a huge difference in their technical skill, artistry, and even knowledge of their work.
In case they’re not an office with expertise in porcelain veneers, I want to warn you about something before your next check-up. Under no circumstances should your hygienist use any power polishing equipment, such as a prophy jet. This will take the glaze right off your porcelain veneers. Then they’ll become dull looking and pick up stains quickly. In short, it will ruin them. If this isn’t a practice that knows a lot about cosmetics, their hygienist may not be trained in these procedures.
Caring for Your Porcelain Veneers
Choose a soft toothbrush
Often, we encounter patients who use hard toothbrushes thinking the firmness means it cleans better. The opposite is actually the case. All the hard brush will do is scratch your veneers and wear down your gums. Even brushing hard can damage your gums, so brush gently.
Choose Your Toothpaste Carefully
While we’re on the subject of toothbrushes, let’s talk about toothpaste. First, avoid whitening toothpaste. They have abrasives in it which is supposed to attack stains. They do. But, they also attack the glazing on both natural tooth structure and dental work, like porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns. This will cause them to actually pick up stains more readily. While teeth whitening can help with natural tooth structure, it can’t do anything for dental work.
The best brand of toothpaste for any kind of cosmetic dental work is Supersmile. It’s specifically formulated for cosmetic dental work.
Floss every day
This one is pretty self-explanatory. You need to keep healthy gums.
Avoid using mouthwash which contains alcohol
We’ve already gone over this in-depth so we won’t rehash it here.
Get cleaning from an experienced cosmetic practice
We’ve discussed above the damage power polishing equipment can do. The same is true of a pumice. The problem is there are many things a dentist or hygienist can do to ruin your veneers. That’s why it’s important to go to a clinic who doesn’t need additional training.
Consider getting a mouthguard
This is only necessary if you happen to be someone who grinds or clenches their teeth. Those habits can do serious damage not only to your cosmetic work but to your teeth in general. It can lead to chipped or broken teeth and even TMJ Disorder. The problem is most people don’t even realize they’re doing it because they only do it in their sleep. A good dentist keeps an eye out for that and checks for the signs. If you’re not sure, ask your dentist. A mouthguard isn’t very expensive and can protect you from additional harm.
I finally got the porcelain veneers I’ve always dreamed of. They’re the right color and the right shape, but they’re so shiny they look unnatural. It’s almost like a blinding light in photographs. Is there anything I can do to lessen the shine?
You’ve brought up something very interesting. Normally when we get questions about the shine on porcelain veneers is because the shine is gone. It’s the glaze on porcelain veneers which gives it the shine, which is important. That’s what makes the porcelain veneers so stain resistant. But, it has to be done correctly. It sounds like yours may not have been.
What Makes the Shine on Porcelain Veneers Look Natural?
When done properly, the shine on the glaze helps the veneers to look like your natural teeth. Our natural teeth reflect light. You want your smile makeover to do the same. Look at the picture above. All of the teeth in the picture are natural except one. I bet you can’t tell which. The difference is in creating the right texture.
If yours are too shiny, the dentist may have the veneers too flat. That wouldn’t look natural at all. In fact, it could be visually assaulting, which is what you seemed to indicate.
How True Cosmetic Dentists Prevent Porcelain Veneer Disasters
Expert cosmetic dentists will make sure you love your smile BEFORE they bond it on. They’d use a temporary try-in paste and let you get a good look at them in various lights. If you’re not thrilled with them, they won’t bond them on.
Unfortunately, the only way to lessen the shine is to remove it. The cheapest way to do that is to ask your hygienist to use a prophy jet on them at your next cleaning. In fact, most of our questions about veneers and shine have to do with inexperienced hygienists doing that without realizing they’re ruining the patient’s cosmetic work.
You don’t really want to do this. Your veneers will not only look flat and unnatural, but they’ll immediately begin picking up stains. Instead, I’d visit your dentist and ask him to re-do them. You paid for a smile you’d love and didn’t get one. Also, insist he uses a temporary try-in paste and get your approval before bonding them on.
I don’t know what’s going on. I got porcelain veneers a year and a half ago. They looked beautiful when they were first placed. But, a few weeks after my six-month check up they started picking up stains. They come off whenever the hygienist cleans them at my next appointment, but it doesn’t take long for them to start picking up stains again. The dentist said it’s something I’m doing, but my natural teeth never stained this badly. Do you have any idea what can be causing this?
Porcelain veneers are actually more stain resistant than your natural teeth. So, if the smile you had before wasn’t being stained by your habits, you don’t seem to be the problem. The timing of when your porcelain veneers first starting picking up stains is the biggest clue. You mentioned it happened very shortly after your check-up. My suspicion is the hygienist used something during her cleaning which led to the glaze being removed from your porcelain veneers.
Once that happens, it will continue to pick up stains rapidly. Yes, the cleanings you get at check-ups will remove them, but they’ll come right back. Unfortunately, this can’t be fixed. While there is a diamond polishing technique that could help, it’s an extremely advanced procedure and very few cosmetic dentists know it. The only thing to do at this point is have them replaced. Because this was likely the fault of your dentist’s staff, they should be willing to front most of the cost of replacement.
If they give you trouble, you could have an expert cosmetic dentist in your area look at the veneers to give a second opinion as to what happened. If it turns out the glaze was removed, that could put pressure on your dentist to make things right. Most dentists care about their reputation among their peers.
In order to find an expert cosmetic dentist, you can check with mynewsmile.com. They list artistic cosmetic dentists by area. Also, you can check aacd.com to see if there are any accredited dentists in your area. You’ll be in good hands with either of those.
Hopefully, this situation will educate your dentist on how to properly care for porcelain veneers in the future. As an aside, make sure you’re not using any whitening toothpastes. These are abrasive and can place minuscule scratches on your veneers. Instead, use a cosmetic toothpaste, such as Supersmile.
I’m having a problem with my CEREC crown. I’ve only had it about a year and now it’s picking up stains. I don’t know what happened. I just got my teeth cleaned. My teeth, including my crown, looked great when I left. A few weeks later and it started getting dingy.
Corinne – New Mexico
I can’t be certain without examining your crowns, but it sounds like your crown has lost its glazing. I suspect, because it happened just after your check up and cleaning, you likely had an inexperienced hygienist. He or she either didn’t realize you had a CEREC crown or didn’t know how to care for them.
If the hygienist used something like a prophy jet during your cleaning, it would damage the glazing.
I’d talk to your dentist about it. If he or she doesn’t know how to fix it, they might be willing to replace it. Other than that you’re stuck either living with it or replacing it yourself.