Porcelain veneers are very durable and are a great way to obtain a bright, even smile. The veneers are attached to your natural teeth using a special plastic cement, and the porcelain itself resists staining and withstands the forces your teeth experience when you're chewing. Generally, protecting your porcelain veneers simply involves avoiding habits that would damage or stain your natural teeth — don't chew on hard food, protect them from damage during sports, and avoid eating substances that stain your teeth. However, there are a few differences that you need to watch out for. If you've recently had porcelain veneers put in, here's how to keep them looking great.
Buy Non-Abrasive Toothpaste and Non-Alcoholic Mouthwash
Once your porcelain veneers are in place, you'll need to switch to a non-abrasive toothpaste. Several toothpastes you'll find contain abrasive minerals such as mica that act as a whitening agent for your teeth — they strip off a small amount of enamel whenever you use them, which can remove slight surface staining. Abrasive toothpaste isn't healthy for your regular teeth due to its damaging effects on enamel, and it's even worse for porcelain veneers. Using abrasive toothpaste on veneers can etch them and weaken them. Make sure your toothpaste says that it's non-abrasive on the label.
Many mouthwashes contain alcohol, and these should be avoided when you have porcelain veneers. Alcohol acts as a solvent that weakens the plastic cement bond between the veneers and your natural teeth. While alcohol won't cause your veneers to simply fall out, it will eat away at the cement and create tiny crevices where bacteria can hide. To prevent this from happening, switch to a non-alcoholic mouthwash.
Protect Your Veneers From Extreme Forces
Porcelain veneers are strong enough to withstand the normal forces they experience when you're chewing food, but excessive force can chip them. In order to protect your veneers, avoid chewing on anything hard such as ice or hard candy. You should also wear a mouth guard whenever you play contact sports in order to avoid chipping your veneers by colliding with another player. These rules apply to your natural teeth as well — practicing good habits that avoid your teeth being subjected to excessive force helps keep both your natural teeth and your veneers healthy and undamaged.
Avoid Substances That Stain Your Teeth
Because porcelain veneers are made of a glass-like substance, they're very resistant to stains — this includes stains from smoking and drinking coffee or tea. Unfortunately, the plastic cement used to bond the veneers to your teeth is slightly porous and can pick up stains. If the cement becomes stained, it will leave an unsightly darkened ring around your bright white veneers. In order to prevent the cement from becoming stained, you should avoid anything that would stain your natural teeth: quit smoking and either drink cola, coffee, wine, and tea through a straw or avoid them entirely.
Luckily, staining to the cement that holds your veneers in place can be reversed by a cosmetic dentist. A dentist will polish your veneers using a special whitening gel that lifts stains out of the cement, restoring the appearance of your veneers. Avoiding foods that stain your teeth and maintaining good dental hygiene will reduce the likelihood that the problem will come back.
By avoiding damage and staining, you're helping to maintain the appearance of your porcelain veneers. If your veneers do become chipped or stained, schedule an appointment with a cosmetic dentist — in most cases, chips can be easily repaired and stains can be polished away, leaving your veneers looking just like new.
To learn more, contact a dental office like Pike Dentistry.