fbpx
Options for Whitening Your Veneers

Options for Whitening Your Veneers

Veneers have exploded in popularity over the past two decades as an excellent solution for transforming the look of one’s smile. They are a great option for patients with crooked teeth or gaps in their teeth, as veneers can cover these troublesome spots and create a nearly flawless smile. Perhaps the most common use of veneers is to improve teeth which are discolored or stained. Veneers are a much more permanent option than tooth whitening and rarely require touching up or additional treatment of any kind. Still, some people discover that over the years their veneers appear to lose some of their shine or luster, leaving many wondering how they can whiten their veneers and return them to their like-new brightness.

The truth of the matter is that veneers do not change color and cannot be whitened. To understand why, consider the makeup and function of enamel, the tooth’s natural surface. Enamel is a porous material that has the ability to absorb different substances, some of which can cause staining. Furthermore, without proper hygiene, enamel can erode and expose denting, the inner layer of teeth. Dentin is naturally more yellow-tinted than enamel, and its exposure can leave the teeth looking dull. Common whitening procedures use substances which penetrate the enamel and dislodge the staining particles.

Porcelain Veneers

Obviously, veneers have a much different structure than enamel. Nowadays, most veneers are made of porcelain. This substance is incredibly strong and has a very lifelike appearance, one that is almost indistinguishable from natural teeth. Unlike enamel, though, it is not porous and does not absorb staining chemicals. It is this very characteristic which makes it so suitable as a material for veneers. Because it is so dense, porcelain can neither absorb stains or whitening gels.

Why do veneers appear to become duller over time?

The answer has to do with the underlying tooth. Although porcelain cannot stain, the underlying teeth can. Because most of today’s veneers are so thin, stained teeth can subtly show through the porcelain and create a discolored effect. That being the case, the key to whitening veneers is to whiten underlying teeth. This can be tricky, however, and may not always have the desired effect, especially with teeth whose structures have been altered to accommodate veneers.

New Whiter Veneers

The surest way to add brightness to veneers is to have them remade. The wonderful thing about porcelain is that it comes in many shades and can be customized to provide the best outcome for your case. Before getting veneers, talk to your dentist about the chances of your teeth dulling and showing through. He or she will be able to recommend veneers that are thicker or brighter and will better hide the natural discoloration below. Choosing thinner veneers such as Lumineers may be a good choice if your dentist anticipates the need for replacement in the future. Lumineers are very thin, but are easily removed and require no altering of tooth structure. Because the underlying teeth keep their enamel intact, chances are they will not dull as quickly