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.