When my dentist placed my porcelain veneers a couple of years ago I was so happy. I had been so self-conscience about my smile for so long and it was love at first sight when I looked in the mirror. My teeth were so white for the first year or so and then they started to change color. They were staining, so I made an appointment to have them cleaned and they looked really good for a week or so and then it started happening again. I’m not sure why this is happening or what to do about it. I’ve brush at least three times a day and have even tried whitening toothpaste and it doesn’t work! — Sharon
Porcelain veneers are usually very durable, but the top layer is susceptible to scratches. Think about a porcelain sink… it can last for years, but if you use an abrasive cleaner or a Brillo pad to clean it, that leaves behind microscopic scratches on the surface. Those scratches can collect dirt and bacteria and will continue to stain.
The same thing can happen with porcelain veneers. The dental office should be taking extra precautions when they polish your teeth. It’s unclear whether they’ve done this or not, but some polishing pastes and tools are known to scuff up the surface of porcelain, and any hygienist who is experienced with cosmetic work should know this. Also, you should not be using whitening toothpaste because it is abrasive.
Once porcelain veneers are scratched, there’s nothing you can do but have them redone. You can stick with professional cleanings on a regular basis to keep the stains at bay and even use a special toothpaste intended for cosmetic work. When you’re brushing at home, use a soft-bristled toothbrush, a gentle cleansing toothpaste and brush often.
If you drink a lot of coffee or tea, or use tobacco either could be causing the staining. Those types of stains usually just sit on the surface and can be brushed away, so brushing frequently will keep your teeth brighter for longer. But odds are something happened that damaged the surface in your situation.