I’ve only had my porcelain veneers for a little over a year. I was told they’d be very stain resistant. Yet, mine have picked up staining around the edges of my porcelain veneers. I’m worried it’s because I’m a smoker. I wish they’d have warned me about this. Will teeth whitening help them?
You are correct that porcelain veneers are very stain resistant. In fact, they typically are even more stain resistant than your natural teeth. Staining can happen on porcelain veneers for several reasons, however.
Why Porcelain Veneers Might Pick Up Stains
The major reason porcelain veneers will start to stain is if the glaze has been removed from the porcelain veneers. It’s the glaze which protects them. This can happen if a dental hygienist mistakingly uses something like a power prophy jet during your checkup and cleaning. With the glaze gone, the veneers will look fine at the appointment but quickly begin to pick up stains.
I don’t think this your issue though. When that happens, the stains are usually all over the porcelain veneers. Yours are limited to the edges.
A second reason for discoloration would be if you don’t have a good bond between the veneers and the teeth. This will allow food and other types of bacteria carrying things to get lodged underneath your veneers. Like the issue above, this would show up over the surface area of the tooth, not just the edges.
A third reason for stains would be if your veneers had bulky margins. This happens when the dentist doesn’t get the veneers flush with the tooth and gums, creating a small “shelf” above your veneers. This will allow particles to get trapped, leading to discoloration and decay. This particular issue shows up at the gumline.
What you’re describing on the edges makes me think you’ve got some bonding material there. Teeth whitening only works on natural tooth structure, so don’t expect that to take away these stains. Instead, this can be fixed if the hygienist uses ultra-fine polishing strips in this area and a special ultra-fine aluminum oxide polishing paste, to keep this area as smooth as possible and resistant to stain and plaque accumulation.
I would consider this a part of the normal maintenance of your porcelain veneers. Make sure you go back to the dentist who did your smile makeover to have this done. It is not something I would expect your general dentist to know or even have the materials to perform the task.
This blog is brought to you by Hilton Head Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Bonnie Rothwell.