Are you thinking about using teeth whitening or baking soda to brighten your porcelain veneers? What you use to clean your veneers can maximize—or minimize—their lifespan.
The Properties of Porcelain Veneers
Well-made porcelain veneers replicate tooth enamel. Although porcelain beautifully mimics enamel, the properties of porcelain are different. The dental ceramics used to make veneers are harder than tooth enamel. And veneers are stain resistant. So how can you whiten them?
Professional bleaching gel is made of carbamide peroxide, which penetrates through tooth enamel into the dentin in teeth. The gel lightens the natural pigmentation in your teeth. But porcelain veneers are colorfast—teeth whitening won’t change their color.
Baking Soda or Teeth-Whitening Toothpaste?
Powdered baking soda is abrasive. If used for an extended period, it can scratch tooth enamel or the surface of porcelain veneers. Additionally, most types of toothpaste—including those with teeth whitening properties—are too abrasive to use for an extended period on cosmetic dental work. At the margin of your gumline and the veneers, abrasive pastes can wear away the composite bonding that secures the veneers to your teeth.
Many advanced cosmetic dentists recommend low-abrasion toothpaste for any cosmetic work, including porcelain veneers. Supersmile® toothpaste is gentle on teeth and cosmetic work.
Bottom line: Don’t use powdered baking soda or teeth-whitening gels or pastes on your porcelain veneers. Long-term use will create scratches that attract stains. Use a low-abrasion brand of toothpaste that is recommended by your cosmetic dentist.
If Your Porcelain Veneers Are Dull or Stained
If porcelain veneers are stain resistant, why do yours look dull? Several factors can cause veneers to look dark and detract from your smile, including:
- Bacteria leaking behind the cosmetic work
- Excess dental cement that your dentist didn’t thoroughly remove when bonding the veneers to your teeth
- Damage that results when a hygienist uses dental instruments or chemicals that work well on tooth enamel but not on veneers
It’s best to determine the cause of your dull or stained veneers. Teeth whitening gels or pastes won’t help. You can schedule an appointment for an exam with an advanced cosmetic dentist. Your cosmetic dentist might be able to polish your veneers and enhance their gloss. He or she will explain your options.
Miranda Lacy, DDS, a female dentist in Plano, TX, sponsors this post.