In February 2020, my dentist did dental bonding on my six upper front teeth. Over the past 15 years, I’ve had composite done every four years. The newest composite is beginning to turn yellow already. Is this something that can polish away or whiten, or will my dentist have to redo it? I want another opinion before hearing what my dentist has to say. Thank you. Maira
Thank you for your inquiry.
Some differences between porcelain veneers and the type of composite bonding that most general dentists provide include:
- Strength – Porcelain is tough, but composite is soft
- Stain resistance – Porcelain is colorfast and resists stains better than tooth enamel. Composite is susceptible to stains, but an advanced cosmetic dentist can usually polish out surface discoloration. Stains that get absorbed into the composite will not polish out.
- Longevity – Porcelain veneers can last 15 years or longer, but composite must be replaced or refreshed every five years or so.
Steps to Minimize Composite Staining
You can take preventive care of composite bonding on your teeth. These steps will help you maintain the appearance of your veneers longer.
- Choose an expert cosmetic dentist – Although general dentists stock composite for general purposes, advanced cosmetic dentists have a full inventory of composite materials. General-purpose composites are impossible to polish to a high, stain-resistant gloss like tooth enamel. A cosmetic dentist will provide high-quality composite that lasts longer. Some cosmetic dentists offer flowable composite, which forms a stronger bond to your teeth, hardens faster, and finishes with beautiful luster.
- Avoid abrasive toothpaste – Choose toothpaste, like Supersmile®, made for cosmetic dentistry work. Although it costs more than other brands, it will not scratch the composite surface and increase the risk of staining.
- Ensure your hygienist uses fine abrasive – A dental hygienist should only polish your teeth with a fine abrasive. Hygienists trained to care for composite often use a fine aluminum oxide polish.
- Limit how often you drink staining beverages – If you drink dark sodas, wine, or berry juices, swallow them quickly rather than letting them linger in your mouth. Hot drinks like coffee and tea slightly expand composite and more easily leave stains. Drink water or rinse your mouth after drinking staining beverages.
Whether you choose composite or porcelain veneers, you will get the best results from a dentist with advanced cosmetic dentistry training. If your dentist cannot improve the stains in your new composite, consider getting a second opinion from a skilled cosmetic dentist.
Rekha Reddy, DMD, of Houston, TX, sponsors this post.