I had porcelain veneers done on my front teeth last year. I am pretty surprised to see them starting to get stained after such a short time. I am a smoker, but I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal because I thought that porcelain veneers were really hard to stain. They are discoloring in between my teeth.
Do you think a cosmetic dentist will be able to polish them up again? I haven’t even finished paying them off yet. I’m pretty bummed that they are losing their luster so soon.
-Jess in California
It is always difficult to give specific recommendations without seeing your case in person. There could be many factors that are contributing to your stained veneers.
You are correct in that typically, porcelain veneers are highly stain resistant. However, if the protective glaze becomes damaged, they are much more susceptible to staining. This can be caused by polishing equipment or a Prophy Jet at a dentist that isn’t experienced with caring for porcelain veneers. This may have taken place at a regular cleaning and exam. If this was the case, the staining would be covering their entire surface.
You did mention that there are stains occurring between your teeth. This is the area where the margin meets the natural tooth and could be a result of a couple different things. It is possible that there is a space between the natural tooth and the porcelain. This type of stain is difficult to fix once the veneers are in place. The issue may be that there is a small area of composite bonding material in that area that needs to be polished properly. Also, it would be wise to go back to the original dentist that did your porcelain veneers, since most family dentists do not have the level of skill required to do beautiful cosmetic dentistry to fix something like this. The area was probably polished originally when they were placed. But, it may just need to be touched up.
Many excellent cosmetic dentists encourage patients to follow up with regular re-polishing appointments to keep veneers looking their best. But, it’s important that this is done by a hygienist that is used to caring for porcelain veneers. An ultra-fine polishing strip and special paste is best to keep the stains down and make sure that the veneers last to their full potential. This will help combat any built up plaque. But it is important to realize that not every hygienist or general dentist is familiar with the best way to care for porcelain veneers. So, that is why it’s best to go back to your original dentist.
From what you have described, it sounds like this is more of a maintenance issue and not an example of anything that went wrong or was done incorrectly. Of course, it would be ideal if you quit smoking to help prolong the stains. If not, it may be even more important that you keep up with these polishing appointments if you plan to continue smoking.
This post is sponsored by Barrington cosmetic dentist James T. Gavrilos, DDS.