When Whitening Is Not An Option: Camouflaging Stained Teeth With Veneers

23 December 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Articles


In most cases, if your teeth are discolored, your dentist can use a procedure known as dental whitening to lighten them. The procedure is great for removing stains related to cola or coffee consumption or tobacco use, as well as just standard discoloration that happens as you age. However, there are some people who are not candidates for professional dental whitening. This includes those who are allergic to peroxide (the whitening agent used) and those who have certain dental restorations like tooth-colored resin fillings that are visible when they smile. Those who want their teeth to be "blindingly" white also cannot expect to get those results with professional whitening.

For these people, and for others who are told by their dentist that whitening is not a good idea, there is an alternative to consider: veneers.

What are veneers and how do they make the smile look whiter?

Veneers are dental restoration devices that are similar to crowns, but instead of covering the whole tooth, they just cover its front surface. They are usually made from porcelain, though there are composite veneers as well. Porcelain veneers last for about 10–15 years, and since you must have them replaced once they do wear out, they are considered a permanent dental alteration. Composite veneers are less expensive, but they last about 5–7 years. They must also be replaced if and when they wear out. This is because for both porcelain and composite veneers, your dentist must shave away a thin layer of the tooth enamel in order to apply them. Leaving this uncovered and exposed will lead to sensitivity.

Note that veneers do not make your teeth whiter. They simply cover your stained teeth with a material that looks whiter. Your dentist can make them in most any shade you wish, from a natural white to the blinding, almost-silver white that you see celebrities sporting.

Is everyone a candidate for veneers?

Most people are candidates for veneers. However, if you have very misaligned teeth or a misaligned bite, you may not be a candidate. Having your smile corrected with orthodontic procedures might allow you to get veneers later on. You may also be a poor candidate if you regularly clench or grind your teeth and cannot stop this habit -- grinding and clenching will cause the veneers to chip, causing you to need to replace them prematurely.

What are the benefits of veneers?

One benefit of veneers is that they are a permanent solution to your discolored teeth. Porcelain is resistant to stains, so you can keep drinking your coffee, cola or red wine without sacrificing your white smile. Composite is a bit more prone to staining, but should still stay white if you practice good dental hygiene and enjoy these dark beverages in moderation.

Veneers camouflage your whole tooth, so if you have any chips or slightly crooked teeth, these problems will also be masked. The application process is painless.

What are the downfalls of veneers?

For some patients, the fact that they have to wear veneers for life can be a downfall. Porcelain veneers can cost between $900 and $2,500 per tooth, so not only is having them originally placed expensive, but so is replacing them later on.

Though side effects are rare, some patients do experience ongoing tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods after having veneers put into place. This is due to the removal of a thin layer of enamel in order to place the veneers.

If professional dental whitening is not an option for you, contact a dentist through a site like http://accentdentalnwi.com/ about veneers. Chances are good that you're a candidate, and if you do opt for veneers, you'll have a lifetime of gorgeous smiles to look forward to.