Porcelain Veneer Maintenance

Bartlesville OK DentistryCosmetic dental work often involves a substantial investment, and may require special maintenance to help keep it looking its best. Cosmetic dentists with many years experience in the field, have valuable insights into keeping your dental work looking great for years to come.

Professional Care

Some professional maintenance procedures that are used typically on natural teeth or metal restorations can ruin the beauty of all ceramic or composite esthetic work. Be sure that your dental office understands these no-no's and do's:

Power polishing equipment, such as the Prophy-Jet®, which creates a powerful spray of sodium bicarbonate to clean your teeth, does nicely for natural teeth, but it will roughen the surface of porcelain or composite and make it stain more easily. It will look great at the end of the appointment, but in a few weeks you'll notice the rapid deterioration in appearance.

Regular pumice polish, used routinely by hygienists to remove the protein pellicle layer from teeth, will scratch composite bonding. Even for durable porcelain veneers, the pumice will scratch and erode the composite that holds the veneer to the tooth and cause it to deteriorate prematurely. Hygienists should use a fine aluminum oxide polishing agent to polish cosmetic dental work.

Fluoride treatments have to be done carefully. Many hygienists and dental assistants, and even some dentists, don't understand the difference between acidulated and neutral fluoride, as far as it affects cosmetic work. The acid in acidulated fluoride is hydrofluoric acid, which has the property of etching porcelain and the tiny glass particles in many composites, and thus it will make them more susceptible to staining. It can also actually remove the color from some porcelain crowns! If you have any fluoride treatment after cosmetic dental work, be sure that the fluoride used is a neutral fluoride. It isn't as strong, but it will protect your investment in dental work.

Ultrasonic scalers, if used at the margins of porcelain or composite cosmetic work, can chip the margin and make the tooth more susceptible to recurrent decay.

If a porcelain crown or bonding does get looking lackluster or starts staining, there are polishing techniques that can bring the luster back. A dentist or hygienist specially trained in cosmetic work can bring the shine back.

Most recommend extra maintenance polishing appointments - two per year - to keep the shine at its maximum, especially at the critical bond area between the tooth and the veneer.

Home Care for your Porcelain Veneers

Here's your list of do's anddon'ts for home care of your Porcelain Veneers:

The biggest no-no is heavy, frequent alcohol consumption. If you consume large quantities of alcohol daily, the alcohol tends to dissolve bonding or the composite luting material that holds the porcelain to the tooth. Within a period of a couple of years, you could completely ruin the dental work. So, watch your alcohol consumption. Moderate amounts won't have a noticeable effect. Beware, also, of alcohol-containing mouthwashes. Read the list of ingredients on any mouthwash.

Regular toothpastes can be too abrasive for cosmetic dental work. We recommend Supersmile® toothpaste, because it is very gentle - it removes stains by dissolving them rather than by physical abrasive action. See our page on this site about Supersmile® toothpaste. Rembrandt® toothpaste has an aluminum oxide abrasive that is very gentle and is also safe for any cosmetic dental work.

Don't subject your teeth to sharp impacts or hard objects. Don't bite pins, nails, or staples. Don't grind your teeth. If you tend to grind at night, get a nightguard to protect your teeth. If you engage in contact sports, wear an appropriate athletic mouthguard.

Floss and brush your teeth carefully. While the porcelain or bonding work is immune to decay, the part of your teeth not covered by the cosmetic work is still susceptible to decay. Keep it clean and it will stay decay-free and protect your investment.

Watch your frequency of eating. If you are a snacker, you will tend to develop heavy plaque and thus will tend to get more decay. The best thing you can do to prevent decay, the deterioration of your teeth and the dental work, is to limit your eating to your basic three meals a day and maybe a couple of snacks.

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Dr Ron Hart DDS - Providing services in cosmetic dentistry and porcelain veneers to the areas of Independence and Coffeyville, Kansas (KS), Tulsa and Bartlesville, Oklahoma (OK).

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