Veneers have been on a steady rise of popularity in recent years, with many celebs and social media personalities donning these fancy dental enhancers. However, veneers are not a new invention. Becoming a thing in the late 1920s, veneers evolved throughout the years, with doctors perfecting not only their aesthetic look but also the procedure surrounding the way they are applied. There are many reasons for a person to opt to get a dental veneer, and I will attempt to answer a few questions regarding the subject in order for you to see the bigger picture clearly.
What are Veneers?
Simply put, a veneer is a layer placed over teeth in order to either protect it from any damage or to enhance the aesthetics of the tooth – and consequently the smile. The material is adhered to the surface of the teeth, with each veneer being customized using a mold of a patient’s teeth, and as a result of advances made in this field of dentistry, a veneer can help change the smile of individuals regardless of the shape of the teeth, their size, color or position.
The material used in order to fabricate a veneer can either be porcelain or resin composite material. According to a study made on its durability, a veneer made of porcelain has shown not only an excellent aesthetic result, but they also have more longevity. Composite ones, however, are a good conservative option, but their durability is not as strong.
Generally speaking, a veneer is used typically to improve the appearance rather than to fix a damaged tooth. According to Dr. Marc Lazare, a renowned cosmetic dentist from New York, one might opt for them if their teeth are stained or discolored, chipped, crooked, oddly shaped, or widely spaced. In addition, it’s important to note that the teeth and gums themselves have to be in good condition, and a veneer might not be ideal for those who grind or clench their teeth – due to the fact that the veneer could crack.
Will Veneer Coloring Fade Over Time?
Short answer: Yes.
Slightly longer answer:
As we established, a veneer is made of either porcelain or composite resin. According to the Canadian Dental Association, a veneer made of porcelain doesn’t get stained and can resist discoloring. In addition, a porcelain veneer manages to imitate the light reflecting properties that natural teeth have. On the other hand, a veneer made of composite resin can end up becoming discolored as time goes by.
It should be noted that while a veneer made of composite resin isn’t immune to stains or discoloration, they don’t get stains as easily as the natural tooth enamel does. However, the same rules apply as to natural teeth. Which means that what can cause stains for natural teeth can end up causing discoloration and stains for a composite resin veneer.
The stains can develop after getting prolonged exposures to drinks that are highly pigmented – with the list including red wine, coffee, and tea. In addition, smokers can also get stains that are yellow or brown on the veneer as a result of nicotine.
In order to avoid stains, one simply has to treat the veneer with the same care that they treat their own enamel. The best bet is to not expose for long periods of times to foods and drinks that are color-saturated and which can lead to staining – besides coffee and tea, things like balsamic vinegar, pasta sauce, berries, and curry can also end up causing stains.
Of course, oral hygiene is also important. A veneer can easily enhance one’s smile, but they also have to be maintained. While it doesn’t mean that you can never eat or drink things that are color-saturated, it’s
important to at least rinse with water after enjoying a cup of tea (for example) or to just brush your teeth in order to stay on the safe side.
About Teeth Whitening
The way teeth whitening work is actually very simple. As stated by the American Dental Association, products designed to whiten teeth contain one of two bleaches – hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. The tooth bleaches break the stains into small pieces, and they end up making the color less concentrated and as a result brighten the teeth.
There are many options available when it comes to ways teeth can be whitened, but it’s important to consult a dentist before carrying out any method. This is due to the fact that whiteners might not be a good match for all types of discoloration. Chances are that yellow teeth could respond well to bleach, but brown might not. In addition, whiteners might not be effective at all when it comes to gray tones. In addition, whitening is also ineffective if the discoloration is the result of an injury or medication.
Besides the fact that certain options might not be ideal for certain issues, it’s important to consult a professional in order to be informed about the side effects of whiteners. Some people can experience tooth sensitivity as a result of the peroxide in the product – which gets to the soft layer of the tooth and irritates the nerve. Sensitivity is temporary, but if you overuse the whiteners, they can damage your tooth enamel or your gums.
Can a Veneer Be Whitened?
No. Whitening doesn’t work on crowns, fillings, caps, or on the veneer. It’s easy to get tempted to use tooth bleach in order to improve the color of your smile, but whitening doesn’t work well on a composite resin veneer.
While tooth bleaches aren’t going to work on a veneer, the color can still be improved. This is where professionals come in. Besides maintaining a good oral hygiene, paying your dentist a visit every six months is also ideal, in order to get things checked out and perhaps opt for professional cleanings – which can enhance the look of a discoloration or stained veneer.
Alternatively, if a veneer is to damaged in terms of being stained or too discolored, a dentist could recommend for it to get replaced. As a rule of thumb, a composite resin veneer can generally last around 5 to 7 years before replacing them comes into discussion. In comparison, a porcelain veneer can last at least 10 years, and most likely have a life expectancy of more than that.