8 Expert Tips For Maintaining Veneers
While veneers are not as high-maintenance as you might think, they do require a bit of TLC. Here’s what you need to know to get the most out of your smile.
Over the years, there have been a lot of misconceptions about dental veneers. When we debunked the most common myths about veneers, we were most surprised to learn that veneers are not as high-maintenance or unnatural looking as we once thought. “[Well done] veneers are very simple to maintain,” says Jack Bodie, DDS, a cosmetic dentist in Dallas. “Maintenance issues are more common with veneers that have poor margins (fit) or are not designed well.”
But even the best-fitting veneers require a bit of in-office and at-home care for long-lasting results, which is why we reached out to three top cosmetic dentists to learn how you can get the most mileage out of them.
How to Care for Veneers
Curious about how to extend the lifespan of your dental veneers? Follow these eight tips:
1. Practice Good Dental Hygiene
Needless to day, good oral hygiene is important for everyone, but it’s the biggest key to lasting success for people with veneers. Professionally, you’ll also want to keep up with your semi-annual dental check-ups to monitor the health of your veneers. At home, proper dental care includes brushing twice a day, flossing regularly, and using mouthwash as needed.
Generally, flossing veneers should not be too difficult. If you are worried though about damaging or loosening the veneers, Stacy Spizuoco, DDS, a cosmetic dentist at Lux Smiles in New York City, offers this technique: Insert the floss the way you normally would, but, instead of pulling it back out the same way, you can pull it through. She suggests using waxed floss, a rubber-tipped gum stimulator, or water flosser.
2. Stay Away from Hard Bristles
Dr. Spizuoco recommends brushing veneers with a soft bristle toothbrush to preserve your beautiful smile. “The toothbrush should be angled 45 degrees into the gums, and, if you use a manual toothbrush, you should make small circles with [the] brush,” she explains. If using an electric toothbrush, Dr. Spizuoco recommends the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean and Oral-B Genius because they have a gentle gum setting.
3. Choose a Gentle Toothpaste
Avoid abrasive toothpastes, as they can damage the porcelain of your veneers. So, what exactly constitutes an abrasive toothpaste? According to Dr. Spizuoco, it’s one with small particles in it, like baking soda or pumice. For the most part, these toothpastes have been taken off the market, but it's important to keep in mind. On the flipside, Dr. Spizuoco recommends looking for a gentle formula that promotes gum health. Her picks? Sensodyne and Crest Gum Detoxify.
4. Steer Clear of Foods that Stain Teeth
One great thing about modern veneers is that they are not prone to stains. “Veneers are made of porcelain, which is a non-porous sheet of glass,” explains Anjali Rajpal, DMD, Beverly Hills-based cosmetic dentist. “They cannot absorb stains, so they hold their color better than natural teeth or composite bonding.” With that said, your natural teeth are not immune to the damage of acidic foods and drinks.
When your porcelain veneers are placed, your dentist will match them to the shade closest to your natural teeth. Acidic beverages and foods (think: red wine, coffee, soy sauce, and soda) can discolor natural teeth, making them a different shade than the veneers. Use a straw or immediately brush your teeth afterwards to limit any discoloration, and, when all else fails, leave it to the pros. “Generally, it’s the natural teeth that can be whitened every so often to match the shade of the porcelain veneers, since the veneers are more color-stable,” Dr. Rajpal notes.
5. Skip Hard Foods or Objects
Just like good oral health, this tip is for everyone. As a rule, you should avoid chewing on hard foods or objects, but it’s extra crucial with veneers. That means steering clear of everything from ice cubes to hard candies, as they can chip or crack the veneers or, even worse, your teeth. You’ll also want to kick bad habits like nail biting or pencil chewing to preserve your new smile.
6. Avoid the Grind
“Probably the most important thing is to wear a custom fabricated night guard appliance to prevent tooth movement and damage from clenching and grinding,” Dr. Bodie explains. As it turns out, teeth grinding doesn’t just cause headaches or jaw aches, it can also wear down your dental veneers. “The mouth guard will reduce the amount of muscular force on the teeth and cover their surfaces, which will prevent them from being worn down,” Dr. Rajpal explains. “The veneers should be adequately protected from wear while the mouth guard is in place.”
7. Don’t Smoke
There are a million reasons to quit smoking and getting veneers is one of them. Just like acidic food and drink, tobacco can discolor veneers and natural teeth, in addition to negatively impacting your oral health in general. Consider kicking the habit before investing in veneers.
8. Find the Right Provider
Finding the right cosmetic dentist to place your veneers and help you care for them is crucial to long-term success. As with any aesthetic provider, check out credentials, ask friends and family for referrals, and look at before and after photos before moving forward with treatment to ensure the best care. The extra effort will prove to be worth it. With the proper care, Dr. Spizuoco says your veneers can last 20 years or more!
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