After spending hundreds of dollars for your porcelain veneers, you want to make sure you can maintain your new, clean and healthy smile. Although porcelain is a fairly durable material, it still has its weaknesses. However, by following these tips, you can ensure that even your closest friends won't be able to tell the difference between your real teeth and your veneers.
Most of the types of toothpaste you'll see at your local grocery store are abrasive. Abrasive toothpaste cleans your teeth by using various compounds such as calcium carbonate or silica to physically scrape away the plaque that accumulates on your teeth throughout the day.
There's no doubt about the effectiveness of abrasive toothpaste. However, when it comes to maintaining your veneers, abrasive toothpaste can do more harm than good in the long run. Porcelain isn't as durable as healthy tooth enamel, so the abrasive compounds designed to scrape debris off enamel will scratch your veneers and eventually cause visible damage to the surface of your veneers.
Instead of buying toothpaste that promises a brighter smile through scraping away yellowed layers of enamel, buy toothpaste that has an RDA (relative dentin abrasivity) rating below 100. Toothpastes with a low RDA rating still contain abrasive compounds, but they're not abrasive enough to destroy weakened enamel or damage the surface of your veneers. Additionally, fluoride toothpaste strengthens your damaged teeth through the process of remineralization.
However, your toothpaste is only half of the equation. If you use a gentle toothpaste but continue to brush your teeth with a hard-bristled brush, you will still cause damage to your porcelain veneers. Although it will take some getting used to, switching to a soft toothbrush will further reduce the damage your veneers sustain from regular dental care.
If you grind your teeth at night (a condition known as bruxism), then chances are your porcelain veneers will be ruined within a matter of weeks. Although your teeth may have lasted years of nightly grinding without any obvious signs of damage, your porcelain veneers will breakdown within a matter of weeks depending on the severity of your condition.
Luckily, you can prevent damage to both your teeth and your veneers by wearing an occlusal splint while you sleep.
Occlusal splints are, essentially, a sports mouthpiece. You can purchase an occlusal splint from most department stores. These splints can be placed in boiling water and molded to the shape of your teeth.
However, do-it-yourself splints aren't the most comfortable or effective option when it comes to preventing bruxism damage. If you're searching for a better option, you can have your dentist take images of your teeth and create a custom splint. Although a custom splint will likely come with a larger cost (unless it's covered by your dental insurance), the extra cost will be well worth it. Since a custom splint will fit your teeth better, you're less likely to push it out of your mouth while you sleep.
Before you head into your next teeth cleaning, make sure your dental technician knows about your veneers—especially if you're going to a new dental office. Some of the methods, tools, and agents used during cleanings can be harmful to your veneers. By informing your dentist or dental technician beforehand, you can make sure your veneers don't suffer unnecessary and avoidable damage.
Without proper care and upkeep, your veneers will become prone to yellowing or chipping. However, by following these three tips, you can ensure your veneers last as long as possible. If your veneers have already sustained damage from abrasive brushing, bruxism, or accidental damage, then schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to discuss your options.