Discoloration on my porcelain veneers

I decided to improve the appearance of my smile with four porcelain veneers on my top teeth. I have had them for many years now, but I noticed that I am getting a little gray staining on the edge of one of them. I think it may be a result of a cleaning I had at the dentist. I have no idea if it was really from the cleaning or if that is when I coincidentally happened to notice it. I feel like the cosmetic dentist that I have been seeing is reputable and the staff should be trained to care for patients with cosmetic dentistry treatments. Do you know if there is a way that I can clean the edge to remove the staining?

– Paul in Pennsylvania


It is always quite difficult to make specific recommendations without having seen your case in person, or to have not seen photographs. You also failed to mention how many years you have had the veneers on your upper teeth.

Generally speaking, porcelain veneers have a solid reputation for being highly stain resistant. In fact, porcelain as a restoration material is actually more stain-resistant than your natural tooth enamel. The color should remain relatively consistent. So when an individual does see some staining, it is usually from a couple factors. First, the porcelain veneer’s surface may have been damaged. This means that the glaze that seals the veneer may have broken down which could have taken place from the use of polishing equipment or acidic cleaning agents. Another possibility is that something is showing through underneath the porcelain veneer.

Since you didn’t specify, let us make the assumption that the veneers are over 10 years old, even up to 15-20 years old. Also, let’s assume that the staining you are referring to begins at the edge of the veneer for approximately one millimeter. For this assumption, let’s state the the staining is only taking place on the very edge of the porcelain veneer. So if all of these assumptions are true, then leakage is likely the culprit of your staining. Therefore, the seal has broken and tiny particles are becoming lodged between your natural tooth and the veneer itself. The proper terminology is microleakage. It is important to meet with your cosmetic dentist to have this evaluated. Microleakage that is left unattended has the potential to form tooth decay.

If you are dealing with microleakage, than polishing will not take care of the problem. The best course of action would be fore the porcelain veneer to be replaced.

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.

How do you know if a dentist uses mercury or not?

Are there any specific standards or organizations that can assist one in finding a holistic dentist? I don’t want dangerous ingredients placed in my mouth and from what I can tell all amalgam fillings have mercury in them. Do most dentists still use amalgams? How do I find one that doesn’t?

– Paul in Rhode Island


Every amalgam filling does contain mercury. But the simplest way to find a mercury-free dentist is to simply ask. Many dentists build their practices around holistic dentistry techniques. In fact, even if you don’t realize it, it may be hard to find dentists that still use amalgam fillings. Let us just state for the record that the American Dental Association still deems amalgam (silver) fillings to be completely safe. So this is a dentist’s discretion that leads them to the services and materials provided in individual practices.

Although, it is very understandable that patients are concerned with having mercury placed in their mouth. White fillings are actually bonded to the tooth and offer many benefits over amalgam. They actually strengthen the tooth structure, require less drilling of the natural tooth structure away, have less post-operative sensitivity, and they look much nicer too. In fact, you won’t even be able to see where the natural tooth ends and the filling material begins.

There are some “old school” dentists that hold on to the “tried and true” ways of dentistry. But when you start researching this topic, you will find that the majority of dentists have embraced the new advances in bonding and offer white composite for patients.

Hopefully this information was helpful to you!

This post is sponsored by Newton MA cosmetic dentist Ultimate Aesthetics.