Veneers

How Can I Whiten My Veneers?

Do your veneers no longer match the color of your other teeth? Interested in whitening them? Let me answer all your questions.

by Dr. Burhenne

How Can I Whiten My Veneers?
Q:

My veneers no longer match the color of my other teeth, so I'm interested in whitening them. How do you go about whitening veneers?

A: Unfortunately, whitening gel doesn’t work on veneers. In order to get your veneers to match the rest of your teeth, they’ll need to be replaced. But there’s still lots you can do to protect your veneers from darkening!

Reasons Veneers Darken & What to Do About It

Little brown lines on your teeth. Do you have little brown lines where your veneer meets the tooth? Here’s how it happens: as you age, your gum line will pull back a little (this is called gum recession), exposing the spot where the veneer meets the tooth. At this place, there’s a glue line, which can become stained because it’s made of composite. That composite can absorb coffee, wine, and other dark, staining foods and drinks and become a brown line on your veneered tooth.

What to do: Be vigilant about gum recession. Ask for a pocket reading at each dental checkup — this is a measurement of how much your gums are receding. Gum recession is irreversible. You can prevent it from progressing, but you can’t correct past damage, so start monitoring it now.

A veneer that has darkened. A porcelain veneer shouldn’t darken over time. Porcelain is extremely dense and doesn’t absorb stains in the way a natural tooth does. A plastic veneer can occasionally become lightly stained.

What to do: At your next teeth cleaning, ask your hygienist to polish the veneer to remove the staining.

A tooth that was hit hard. When teeth are hit hard, the inner tissue (dentin) can become damaged. Damaged dentin ages faster than undamaged dentin — meaning your teeth will yellow faster.

What to do: Try applying whitening gel to the back of the tooth using custom-made trays. Doing this could lighten the inner tissue (dentin), thereby lightening the color that reflects out through your veneer and making the whole tooth look whiter.

An old veneer. If your veneers are more than 20 years old, they could have been made with a more porous material that is more susceptible to darkening over the years than the newer materials.

What to do: Consider replacing your old veneers with one of the newer porcelain materials. The newest materials are strong, long-lasting, and very resistant to changing color.

veneers shade

What to Do Before Getting Your Veneers Replaced

The strategies above might help tweak the shade of your veneer. But for true color change, veneers have to be replaced because they can’t be whitened.

Before jumping in:

  • Make sure you do your whitening before replacing the veneers so that everything matches.
  • Take a few weeks or months to decide what color teeth you want before you replace the veeners.
  • Make sure your dentist knows exactly what shade you want.
  • Bring in a Pinterest board or magazine photos.

Mark Burhenne DDS

I hope this helped you on your quest for a whiter smile! If you have any other questions, please ask in the comments below.

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Dr. Mark Burhenne DDS

9 Comments

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  1. My father has been having a problem with this. He has had veneers for a really long time now, but they are not as white as they used to be. I wanted to help him regain confidence in his smile, so I really appreciate your helpful information. It is interesting that older veneers are more likely to yellow or darken, I think that is the case with my dad. Thank you for thorough explanation and applicable dental tips!

  2. I didn’t know that gum recession could expose veneers like that. You mentioned that you can prevent gum recession from progressing. What are some ways to do that so my veneers don’t start showing?

    • To prevent gum recession, or stop its progression, you should be vigilant about your oral hygiene. The bacteria in plaque is what causes problems in gums – like swelling, bleeding, soreness, recession, and eventually bone loss. Good oral hygiene includes brushing at least twice a day with a soft toothbrush (preferably an ultrasonic), flossing at least once per day, and using an alcohol based mouth wash as directed on the package. Also, follow your recommended cleaning schedule that was prescribed by your dentist or dental hygienist. Generally, people with very healthy gums and teeth should get a cleaning at least twice a year. Those with gingivitis or periodontist should get a cleaning 3 – 4 times per year.

  3. How can i restore the color of my composites? I drink coffee and they don’t look like they did when i first had it done.

    • Hi Janette:

      Unfortunately you can’t do much about this. Sometimes the dentist can polish the composites and lighten them. Some materials don’t hold their polish as well as others. I’ve seen some composites pick up lots of stain over others. Some of he cheaper material can yellow spontaneously over time, but this is happening less and less today. How old are they?

      drb

      ps thanks for being a reader!

      Dr. Mark Burhenne | AsktheDentist.com Read reviews for The 8-Hour Sleep Paradox Facebook | Twitter | YouTube (408) 737-2100

      Schedule a Skype or phone consultation with me

  4. I had no idea that when a tooth was hit exceptionally hard it could damage the inner tissue and cause your teeth to yellow faster. I imagine that more American’s suffer from damage like that then we would imagine. I would think that working with your dentist to make sure to get it fixed as soon as possible.

  5. hi, have had veneers 4 15 years now and r starting 2 stain, can u tell me a product 2 brighten them ? thank u

  6. Hi
    I am. Only 28 I I have veneers on. My front two teeth I had really nice teeth but an ex of mine pushed me from. Behind by my neck. I ended up falling and hitting my head on the kerb. Causing my teeth to hit hard too, the paramedic came as my teeth were wobbly. Paramedic came and said just eat soup etc they world be fine but they went really pink. My dentist said this was nerve damage and blood in the tooth. I really need a way to keep my veneers white as I do drink coffee. I brush about 4 times a day please help??
    Thanks

  7. What is the best way to whiten implanted dentures—–regular toothpaste or some special means to keep white. Have full dentures–implanted.

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