Caring for Dental Veneers
Dental veneers are a very effective form of cosmetic dentistry, making it both simple and relatively inexpensive to fix stained or chipped teeth, resulting in a brighter, happier smile. High quality veneers that have been expertly fitted should last for years, especially if you follow these few simple steps to help keep them in perfect condition.
Stop Nervous Chewing Habits
Many people find that they absent-mindedly chew on hard objects such as pens as an aid to concentration in everyday life. While this is not particularly good for your teeth in any case, it’s particularly bad if you’ve had veneers fitted. Although made to be tough and hard-wearing, porcelain dental veneers are still a little more fragile than natural tooth enamel. When they’re faced with hard objects they will often come off second best, with cracking and general wear a real danger. The same goes for harder foods – be careful when gnawing on BBQ ribs, for example.
Revisit Your Choice of Toothbrush and Toothpaste
If you had your veneers fitted to counteract staining, you may have previously got into the habit of using a stiff-bristled toothbrush and abrasive paste in an effort to whiten your smile. Once you have veneers, however, you should change to a softer brush and milder toothpaste so as not to damage the veneer surface.
Beware of New Staining
While your veneers will have been formulated to be stain-resistant, the same cannot be said of the adhesives used during fitting, and certainly not of your remaining natural enamel surfaces. If you consume large amounts of naturally staining substances such as coffee or red wine, you could find that your veneers stay clear while other parts of your smile become discolored. This uneven staining is usually very noticeable, so try and limit your consumption of risky foods and drinks.
Prevent Physical Damage
However tough they are, veneers are still somewhat prone to cracks and chipping when subjected to shocks. If you play any contact sports, or take part in other similar activities, then it’s a good idea to wear a gum shield to prevent damaging your veneers. Also beware of nocturnal tooth grinding. You may do this without even being aware of it, and it is particularly harmful to veneers, so look out for the warning signs and wear a mouth guard overnight if necessary.
Maintain High Hygiene Standards
Lastly, veneers are a generally low-maintenance type of dental treatment, but this doesn’t mean you can slacken off on proper oral care. If your standards slip, you could be storing up future tooth problems hidden behind your healthy-looking veneers. Similarly, don’t neglect your regular dental check-ups, and always ask your dentist if your veneers could benefit from a quick polish and clean on your visits to help keep them in top condition.
Despite their ease of fitting and low cost compared to many other forms of cosmetic dentistry, veneers still represent a significant investment. Looking after them in these simple ways will ensure they continue to brighten your smile for years to come.
Dr Gerald O’Connor is the principal dentist and owner of Killiney Dental. Dr O’Connor graduated with an honours dental degree from University College Cork in 1998. He has since worked as a general dental surgeon in the UK and Ireland and has over 20 years experience in the dental field, with a particular interest in cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Dr O’Connor is an active member of the Irish Dental Association, sitting on its Quality Patient Safety Committee, and is a Irish Dental Council registered dentist.