Can you whiten a veneer - savina dental clinics

Think of your smile as your greeting card to everyone. Most people strive to keep it beautiful and healthy. Veneers are a great way of getting a confident smile. Although uncommon, they can change colour over time, and you may wonder if you can whiten veneers. If yes, how can this be achieved?

Why veneers may change their colour

Porcelain veneers are custom shells made from materials coloured to resemble natural teeth. By covering your teeth’s surface, veneers create a beautiful smile. Your dentist bonds these shells to the front of every tooth to alter the shape of your natural teeth.

Although veneers don’t stain as easily as natural teeth, they may still be susceptible to staining. Surface stains often develop over time due to prolonged exposure to pigmented drinks like dark coffee and red wine. These can easily be polished off. Some occurrences that might contribute to veneer stains include:

Age

As we get older, our gums recede, leaving areas where the tooth meets the veneer exposed. Since veneers are bonded to the enamel, the cement at the margin is left vulnerable to dark-coloured beverages and foods and can become stained. Unfortunately, gum recession is irreversible, and it is impossible to polish cement.

Also, when your veneers were made makes a difference. If they are over two decades old, the quality of the porcelain available at the time was not as good as the materials available today. They might be made of porous porcelain or plastic, materials that aren’t as durable as modern porcelain dentists use and much more prone to staining.

Trauma and tooth damage

If your tooth is damaged in an injury and the dentin or inner tissue is affected, the tooth can develop a greyish discolouration. Since veneers are very thin shells, any change in the tooth’s colour underneath can alter the colour (shade) of the veneer.

Can you whiten your veneers?

If your veneers get discoloured, you might be tempted to try at-home teeth whitening solutions to restore your smile. However, porcelain veneers aren’t affected by traditional whitening treatments. For visible results, talk to your dentist first before choosing a teeth whitening treatment solution.

What you should not do

Don’t be tempted to whiten veneers using over-the-counter enamel bleaching products. With this approach, you might end up with a mismatched smile as veneers will not whiten while neighbouring teeth will. Even worse, these products might damage your veneers. For instance, abrasive whitening toothpaste might scratch your veneers, making them more prone to staining and removing their lustre.

Possible ways of whitening veneers

Here are some options you have for veneer whitening:

Talk to your dentist first

We cannot stress this enough. Your dentist will provide the best solution based on the cause of discolouration. They may recommend replacing the veneers or professionally cleaning them and restoring the protective porcelain glaze.

Non-abrasive polishing toothpaste

If you must use whitening toothpaste, pick a gentle option specifically designed for stained veneers. This option is good for individuals with minor stains around the veneer edges.

Replacing veneers

If dental veneers become discoloured, it’s advisable to replace them if you want to maintain your originally bright smile. Replacement will reset the time, so you don’t have to deal with discolouration.

How to prevent veneers from discolouration

To keep your veneers from discolouring:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene – brushing and flossing help remove stains from the enamel surface and keep your teeth healthy
  • Use gentle toothpaste – whitening toothpaste containing baking soda may be abrasive for your veneers. Instead, get toothpaste specifically designed for veneers
  • Avoid smoking – tobacco will stain natural teeth and veneers too

Overall, veneers don’t stain easily. However, when they do, it’s good to know how to act to regain their beauty without affecting their integrity.

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Savina Clinic – Dental & Implantology Centres are friendly, state-of-the-art practices in Malta and Gozo dedicated to comprehensive quality dental care. Savina Dental is an innovative dental practice in Malta and prides itself on high-quality customer service, low waiting room times, attention to detail and the advanced dental technology at its disposal.

Joseph Xuereb
Principal Dental Surgeon & Owner of Savina Dental Clinics, Dr Joseph Xuereb BChD (Hons), MFGDP(UK), MGDS RCS(Eng), FFGDP RCS(UK), FICD is a general dental practitioner with a special interest in Implant and Restorative Dentistry. Dr Joseph & the teams' full biographical information can be found here.