Porcelain dental veneers can be used to correct all kinds of cosmetic dentistry problems, ranging from discolored teeth to embarrassing gaps. Although older versions of dental veneers were clunky and obvious, modern dental veneers are incredibly thin, natural-looking, and durable. In fact, veneers can last as long as 20 years or more—if you know how to take care of them. Here is everything you need to know about caring for porcelain veneers so that you can protect your investment.
1. Excellent Oral Hygiene Is A MUST
Dental veneers are composed of exceptionally thin laminates made from porcelain that are cemented to the visible portions of your teeth. Although these laminates themselves aren’t prone to cavities and dental decay, the rest of your natural teeth can still be impacted by bacteria.
For this reason, it is crucial for patients to understand that teeth with veneers need to be brushed, flossed, rinsed, and checked just like their natural teeth. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush, and replacing that toothbrush every four months to minimize the spread of bacteria and to keep your gums healthy. Teeth should be flossed once a day to eliminate food particles and bacteria that have collected between the teeth, and the mouth should be rinsed after brushing and flossing. Mouthwashes with fluoride can help natural dental enamel to remineralize and resist damage from oral bacteria.
2. Never Use Abrasive Toothpaste
Dental veneers are designed to be durable, but that doesn’t mean that they are immune to damage. Much like glass, dental veneers can be scratched, which is why you should avoid abrasive toothpastes.
Abrasive toothpastes are designed to remove the pellicle layer that sits on teeth, which is a microscopic layer of proteins and food particles. This pellicle layer forms before plaque and tartar attach to the teeth, which is why removing it helps the teeth to stay clean and white. Unfortunately, the same abrasive toothpastes that are so effective at removing the pellicle layer can scratch your dental veneers, leaving them susceptible to staining, dullness, or even full-fledged fractures.
To stay on the safe side, avoid abrasive toothpastes. Keep in mind that not all toothpastes are labeled to say whether they are abrasive, so rub a little between your fingers after you get that new tube home. If you can feel tiny pieces of grit within the toothpaste, don’t use it on your veneers. Also, avoid whitening toothpastes, which typically contain abrasives and chemicals that can make your veneers brittle.
3. You Should Avoid Certain Foods
Dental veneers can make your smile white and beautiful, but only if you keep them stain and damage-free. Periodontists recommend against eating any foods that might chip, fracture, or stain your veneers, such as:
- Hard Candies: Avoid hard candies like peppermints, butterscotch discs, and rootbeer barrels. Since it can be difficult to determine how the candy will break, eating hard candies puts you at a higher risk for fractures.
- Toast: Don’t eat toasted breads, especially made from harder breads like baguettes. Since toasts are typically bitten into with your incisors, biting them the wrong way could cause the veneer to chip.
- Dark Beverages: If you want your veneers to stay bright white, avoid dark colored beverages, such as coffee, red wine, dark colored sodas, and tea.
- Alcohol: Your veneers are connected to your teeth by a strong bonding material, but this bonding agent can weaken over time if it is constantly exposed to alcohol. Try to limit your exposure to alcohol to keep the veneers strongly attached.
Also, people who have veneers should avoid smoking or chewing tobacco, as these habits can inhibit healing, dry out the mouth, and stain your veneers.
4. Mouth Guards Are Your Friend
Grinding your teeth might seem like an uncommon problem, but believe it or not, research has shown that 8% of American adults grind their teeth in their sleep. In addition to wearing down dental crowns, teeth grinding can also chip or fracture dental veneers, which is why mouth guards are your best friend.
If you suspect that you grind your teeth, meet with your dentist or periodontist right away to be fitted for a mouth guard. Mouth guards can help to cushion your teeth from impact, keeping them damage-free and beautiful.
5. Avoid Impact
If you have porcelain veneers, you should also do what you can to avoid impact from sports or daily activities. If you are hit and you notice a problem with one of your teeth or veneers, contact your dentist immediately. Some veneers can be repaired, while others will need to be entirely replaced. Dental implants in Long Island can also be used to replace damaged teeth.
For more information about porcelain veneers, talk with your Long Island periodontist. Your implant dentist in Long Island can evaluate the health of your smile and determine whether or not implants are right for you.