Proper care of porcelain veneers is essential for their longevity. Fortunately, caring for dental veneers is not a difficult thing. In fact, optimizing your current routine may be all that’s needed to protect and preserve your dental restorations for years to come.
Porcelain is the ideal material for dental restorations for several reasons, not the least of which are:
- It reflects light in the same manner as natural tooth enamel
- It is resistant to stain and discoloration
- It is exceptionally strong
Exceptionally strong and resistant to stain are fantastic qualities, but should not be seen as a suggestion that veneers can take care of themselves. Unless you care for your dental veneers properly, even durable and attractive porcelain can become scratched and discolored.
Preventing Damage to Your Veneers
To reduce the risk of scratching your veneers, you should:
- Brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Avoid toothpaste with abrasive ingredients
It is important to brush veneers after every meal and snack. Like your natural teeth, this will help prevent veneers from becoming stained. This simple step can also help prevent bacteria from entering behind veneers — an issue that can result in tooth decay and infection. Flossing will help guard against decay underneath your veneers as well. Be sure to floss at least once a day. Twice is best.
If you use a mouthwash, choose one that does not contain alcohol or astringents like witch hazel. Over time, astringent ingredients can damage dental bonding and allow veneers to come loose. Mouthwash with alcohol may also contribute to oral cancer risks, making it wise to avoid the ingredient in the first place.
In addition to caring for your dental veneers through proper oral hygiene, you can help prevent damage by:
- Not chewing on plastic or other non-food items
- Avoiding hard candy
- Not biting ice
Like tooth enamel, porcelain can be chipped or cracked when used to bite or chew on hard substances. Your best bet is to avoid biting or chewing hard foods and non-food items. This will help prevent damage to your dental restorations and your natural teeth.
Repairing Damage to Your Veneers
Once chipped, scratched, or broken, veneers will need to be replaced. The same is true of veneers that have become dingy or discolored. Tooth whitening is ineffective on porcelain.
Veneers can be replaced one at a time or in batches by the cosmetic dentist who placed them originally. You can also choose a new dentist for replacement veneers, but you may lengthen the process because new molds, mock-ups, and restorations will need to be created.
Often, damage to porcelain veneers is noticed during routine cleanings and examinations where plans for a replacement can be made right away. If you are selecting a new dentist for veneer placement, take your time in choosing one that you believe will meet all of your needs. You should feel free to meet with several dentists before making your decision. Veneers are not inexpensive and their placement and maintenance should only be trusted to qualified and experienced cosmetic dentists.
Porcelain Veneer Candidates
Before you worry about caring for veneers, it is best to determine if they are a good solution for your needs. While best determined by a cosmetic dentist, you may be a good candidate for veneers if your have teeth that are:
- Chipped or cracked
- Misshapen or unevenly sized
- Crooked or gapped
- Severely discolored
To be a good candidate for veneers, you must be free of tooth decay and infection, and have any periodontal issues under control. During your veneers consultation, your cosmetic dentist will need to evaluate your oral health to determine if porcelain veneers can be successfully placed. If you are not currently a good candidate, treatments can be provided to improve your position. Speak to a cosmetic dentist in your area today to learn more.