Veneers are commonly used to improve the shape, color, and overall aesthetics of teeth. However, over time, veneers may become discolored, stained, or appear dull due to various factors such as consuming certain foods or drinks, diminishing the initial ‘wow’.
Thankfully, there are various options to “refresh” your veneers’ color and glow, and boost your confidence again without necessarily remaking them completely. Conservative at home whitening systems provide easy cost-effective solutions to safely re-brighten bonded porcelain.
Whitening veneers at home offers several advantages.
- For starters, it provides a cost-effective solution compared to professional dental whitening treatments. By whitening your veneers at home, you can save money without compromising on the quality of the results.
- Additionally, home whitening allows for convenience and flexibility as you can perform the procedure at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home.
With proper knowledge and techniques, whitening your veneers at home can also yield effective and long-lasting results, giving you a brighter and more confident smile.
What Causes Veneers to Stain or Discolor
Veneers, though crafted from a glass-like ceramic that appears untarnished naturally, are not immune to staining or discoloration over time. Various internal and external factors contribute to the diminishing perceived whiteness of veneers.
A. Internal Discoloration Factors:
1. Thinning Outer Enamel
The natural aging process, along with wear and tear, can lead to the thinning of the thin enamel tooth covering, causing the yellowed inner dentin to show through more noticeably, impacting the overall whiteness of the veneers.
2. Micro-Fractures in Structural Integrity
Small micro-fractures in the structural integrity of the veneers can allow discoloration to occur beneath the surface. These microscopic imperfections may develop over time due to factors like chewing forces or accidental trauma.
3. Recession and Gum Pullback
If there is recession of the gums or pullback, it may reveal more of the yellow root surface in areas that are uncovered below the veneers. Changes in gum health can influence the appearance of the veneers over time.
B. External Staining Sources:
1. Consuming Chromogenic Foods and Drinks
Certain foods and drinks with chromogenic properties, such as berries, tomato sauce, red wine, coffee, and tea, can contribute to staining. The porous nature of veneers, especially composite ones, makes them susceptible to absorbing pigments from these items, leading to discoloration.
2. Tobacco Use
Nicotine present in tobacco can permeate the microscopic pores of veneers, causing noticeable staining over time. Smoking or chewing tobacco can significantly impact the whiteness of veneers.
3. Medications with Metallic Particulates
Some medications contain metallic particulates that may accumulate on the surface of veneers, leading to visible discoloration. Patients on such medications should be aware of their potential impact on the aesthetics of veneers.
4. Poor Cleaning Habits
Inadequate oral hygiene practices can result in the buildup of a salivary pellicle film on the veneers. This film can carry stains from various sources, further contributing to the discoloration of the veneers.
Revisiting Whitening Options
While veneers are not impervious to discoloration, causing them to experience some tinting after 5-10 years of use due to the factors discussed above, re-whitening has proven to be highly effective in restoring their brightness.
Combining both in-office and take-home whitening options provides maximum flexibility to meet unique needs and address sensitivity concerns. This dual approach ensures a tailored and effective whitening strategy.
A. In-Office Whitening Sessions
Higher Intensity Lights and Gels
In-office whitening sessions utilize higher intensity lights and gel concentrations, resulting in profound whitening within 60-90 minutes. This expedited process is ideal for those seeking immediate results.
Dentists closely monitor the whitening process, adjusting sensitivity on the fly through variations in light wavelength or gel pH. This personalized oversight ensures a comfortable experience while achieving optimal results.
Multiple in-office sessions over several weeks contribute to the success of the whitening process. The cost per session typically ranges from $300-$500, making it an effective investment for a visibly brighter smile.
B. Take-Home Whitening Trays
Take-home whitening trays, custom-fabricated to ensure a perfect fit, target trouble spots for a few hours daily. This at-home approach allows for a convenient and gradual brightening of veneers without the need for repeat in-office visits.
You’ll need to use the trays over a 2-4 week period, during which time substantial brightening is achieved, offering flexibility for individuals with varying schedules. While lower concentrations of whitener may require longer application times, the gradual process enhances comfort over extended hours.
The cost of take-home whitening kits varies, typically ranging from $300-$800 depending on dental office charges and the grade of the whitening kit chosen, providing individuals with options that align with their preferences and budget.
Maximize Outcomes Safely
With some basic precautions, proven whitening systems pose little risk to veneers or oral health:
- Avoid cheaper kits with higher acid percentages damaging bonding strengths or irritating gums.
- Have custom trays fabricated vs ‘one-size-fits-all’ ill-fitting options leaking gel contact with gums.
- Follow directions carefully without drastically exceeding recommended session lengths.
- Rinse thoroughly after treatments and brush gently without abrasives to remove any residual whitener contacting unprotected gum tissue.
- Use lower strength formulations if any sensitivity arises, stopping if profound.
- Repeat touch up periodically as needed every 6-12 months.
Tips to Maintain and Enhance Veneers Brightness
Whitening veneers at home requires a cautious approach, as the process differs from natural teeth due to the characteristics of veneer materials. While veneers themselves do not respond to traditional whitening agents like natural enamel, there are strategies to enhance and maintain their brightness:
1. Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
Consistent oral hygiene practices are crucial. Brushing and flossing regularly help prevent surface stains and maintain overall oral health.
- Brush twice daily with non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste
- Floss under veneer edges nightly lifting debris
- Swish antibacterial rinse dissolving leftover film
2. Use Non-Abrasive Toothpaste
Choose a non-abrasive toothpaste. Abrasive toothpaste can potentially damage the surface of veneers over time, affecting their appearance.
3. Avoid Staining Substances
Steer clear of foods and beverages known for staining natural teeth, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and certain berries. Minimizing exposure to these substances helps prevent extrinsic staining on the veneers.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide Mouthwash
Rinse with a hydrogen peroxide-based mouthwash. While traditional teeth whitening agents may not impact veneers directly, a hydrogen peroxide mouthwash can help maintain oral hygiene and reduce surface stains.
5. Oil Pulling
Consider oil pulling using coconut oil. While not a substitute for professional dental care, some individuals find oil pulling can help reduce surface stains and promote overall oral health.
6. Avoid Tobacco Products
If you smoke or use tobacco products, quitting can contribute to maintaining the brightness of your veneers. Nicotine can permeate the microscopic pores of veneers, leading to visible staining over time.
7. Regular Dental Check-ups
Schedule regular dental check-ups. Your dentist can assess the condition of your veneers, identify any potential issues, and recommend appropriate professional treatments if needed.
8. Professional Cleaning
Professional dental cleanings are essential. Dental professionals use specialized tools and techniques to remove plaque, tartar, and surface stains, contributing to the overall appearance of your veneers.
Important Considerations for Veneer Whitening
Limitations of At-Home Whitening:
It’s crucial to understand that traditional at-home whitening methods designed for natural teeth may not be effective on veneers. The material of veneers does not respond to bleaching agents in the same way as natural enamel.
Consult with Your Dentist:
Before attempting any at-home whitening methods, consult with your dentist. They can provide personalized advice based on the specific characteristics of your veneers and recommend safe practices to maintain their appearance.
If you are dissatisfied with the color of your veneers, professional touch-ups or consultations with your dentist can help address your concerns effectively.
Consistent home care after re-whitening locks in revitalized glow for years between periodic touch up sessions:
With the right whitening systems and sustaining regimen, veneers rebound beautifully avoiding pricey remakes for extended service life. Discuss best options with your dentist if noticing veneers no longer matching natural tooth lightness like when first placed years ago. Recapture a brilliantly confident smile affordably and safely once more!