Everyone deserves to have a smile that makes them feel confident. For patients with minor dental imperfections, veneers are an easy, low-maintenance way to improve the appearance of damaged or discolored teeth, or even change their size and shape.
One of the most common questions we hear from patients is: “Can veneers stain?” The answer depends on the type of veneer you have—porcelain or composite—and how they’re maintained.
Can veneers stain?
Porcelain veneers don’t stain the same way that natural teeth do. That’s because unlike the enamel that makes up natural teeth, porcelain is non-porous. That means it doesn’t absorb coffee, wine, and other common stain-causing foods and drinks.
At Muscaro and Martini Cosmetic Dentistry, we use stain-resistant porcelain to create custom veneers for our patients. The result is a beautiful smile that lasts for decades!
Composite veneers, on the other hand, can stain like natural teeth over time. That’s because they’re made from resin, a material that’s more porous than porcelain. Composite veneers typically only last five to seven years before they need to be replaced.
How do veneers become discolored?
Porcelain veneers aren’t absorbent like natural enamel, so they can be cleaned easily and are much more resistant to discoloration over time. Let’s discuss some potential sources of stains and how to address them.
- Stains from some foods and drinks. Certain foods and beverages, like coffee and red wine, are more likely to stain natural teeth. However, stain-resistant porcelain veneers don’t absorb stains from food and drink, and many surface stains will wash off with regular brushing.
- A patient’s age. As we get older, our gums begin to recede, which exposes more of our natural teeth. The exposed part of the natural tooth may be subject to staining and decay. Patients whose gums have receded significantly since their veneers were originally fitted may need to take additional steps to whiten them or even have them replaced and refitted to the proper size.
- Damage from a tooth injury. An injury to the tooth’s inner tissue may lead to discoloration. The inner tissue of an injured tooth can turn yellow, causing the color of the tooth’s exterior to change as well. This will affect the appearance of the veneer. Your dentist can help treat the underlying injury as well as restore your veneer to its natural whiteness.
Do you ever need to whiten veneers?
If you have porcelain veneers, you don’t need to worry about whitening them. Whitening strips and toothpastes do not remove stains from porcelain.
At-home teeth whitening strips use abrasive substances to get rid of the discolored enamel on the outside of your tooth. They also go through the enamel to eliminate deep stains. The porcelain material that veneers are made of is too strong to be penetrated by these chemicals.
Some patients with composite veneers (which are made from resin or plastic) may notice that their teeth start to discolor over time. Composite veneers have a much shorter lifespan than porcelain options and require much more maintenance to stay looking their best. You’ll need your dentist’s help to whiten composite veneers.
If you’re concerned about your porcelain veneers seeming to change color even with regular brushing, talk to your dentist. They can help recommend solutions and determine if there’s an underlying dental problem that needs to be addressed.
How to Maintain Your Veneers and Prevent Staining
Porcelain veneers are low-maintenance, but that doesn’t mean they’re zero maintenance! Like your natural teeth, they require the same daily to stay in great condition. Here are some tips for maintaining your veneers and preventing stains.
1. Maintain Good Brushing Habits
Veneers need to be brushed just like natural teeth. Brushing and flossing helps remove surface stains and keep the underlying tooth healthy.
Veneers only cover the front of your tooth, leaving the sides and back of the tooth exposed. Brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day is the easiest way to prevent exposed areas from decaying.
2. Switch to a Soft Bristle Toothbrush
You may think a hard bristle toothbrush is the best way to clean your teeth and gums, but many hard bristle brushes are too rough. They may even cause the gums to recede over time, which can expose your natural teeth to decay and cause discoloration.
Stick with a soft bristle toothbrush instead. Soft bristles get your teeth clean without the risk of wearing down your veneers and gums.
3. Use a Gentle Toothpaste
Many whitening toothpastes contain baking soda, which is safe for natural teeth, but too abrasive for veneers. Baking soda can wear away at the bonding that secures your veneers to your teeth and create surface scratches that hold onto stains.
Look for gentle toothpastes or products designed for use on veneers. Your dentist can make product recommendations if you’re not sure what’s best for you.
4. Don’t Smoke
Tobacco doesn’t cause veneers to stain, but smoking can lead to significant yellowing of the underlying tooth, which can then lead to patchy discoloration of your smile. Tobacco may also affect the integrity of the bonds holding your veneers in place, so you may need to get them replaced sooner than a non-smoker would.
According to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, quitting tobacco can also give you fresher breath, healthier gums, and help you avoid future dental problems down the road.
5. Go to Your Dentist Regularly
Just as you brush and floss daily, you should see your dentist regularly as part of a healthy smile routine. Getting examinations and cleanings can help prevent cavities and treat decay and gum disease in its early stages.
Maintaining healthy teeth with the help of your dentist will maximize the longevity of your veneers and keep your smile looking beautiful.
Beautiful, Natural-Looking Veneers in Tampa, FL
Whether you’re in need of a regular checkup or you’re interested in learning about our stain-resistant porcelain veneers, schedule an appointment today with our team at Muscaro & Martini Cosmetic Dentistry. We’re proud to help patients in South Tampa keep their smiles healthy and shining bright!