I had porcelain veneers placed on my two front teeth around 20 years ago because of white calcium deposits on my teeth. Lately, it seems like my teeth are getting darker and darker. It’s most obviousit is in pictures I see of myself. It’s really starting to bother me. What are my options?
Keith from Salt Lake City
I wouldn’t know for sure what the problem is with your porcelain veneers and your two front teeth without seeing them, but maybe I can still be of help.
Porcelain is a very hard and stain-resistant material. It is actually more stain resistant than enamel… as long as its glaze is intact. But enamel has a certain capacity for self-repair by drawing minerals from your saliva. Porcelain isn’t able to do that. All of this makes me wonder if the glazed surface of the porcelain has been damaged in some way.
The easiest way to damage porcelain veneers like this is for a dental hygienist to use power polishing equipment on them. That will destroy the glaze in one short appointment. They’ll look bright and clean when you’re through with your appointment, but within a couple of weeks afterward they’ll begin to attract stains and start to become noticeably darker.
If they are darkening because the surface has been damaged, it may be possible to restore the beauty of your smile with sophisticated polishing techniques using diamond grit polishers. An issue like this is beyond the ability of a family dentist. You’ll want an experienced cosmetic dentist like myself to administer this procedure.