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How can I whiten my porcelain veneer? It has started to darken.

I have had one veneer done on my front tooth about 7 years ago, My dentist did such a fabulous job, you can’t even tell one of my front teeth was fake. This past year however, there is darkening up at the gumline. When a picture is taken of me the one front tooth looks smaller than the other. What can I do rewhiten the top of the veneer by my gum line in the front? Is there an alternative without getting the veneer redone? I have read you can lighten your orginal tooth from the back which I am currently doing. Do you know by chance how long it takes to see results and will this lighten the front by my gum line?

Thanks in advance for your help.
Donna from Boca Raton

I’m sorry to have to tell you that it doesn’t sound like this is a simple discoloration on your porcelain veneer, but it is leaking.

Porcelain is very color-stable and will not discolor over time. So there are two possible reasons that a tooth with a porcelain veneer will become significantly darker over time. If it becomes darker uniformly across the surface, it is most likely because the surface has been damaged and the glaze is gone. If it becomes darker at the gumline, it is because of leakage under the porcelain. The bond has deteriorated, and bacteria and decay are getting between the tooth and the veneer.

So you really need to have this veneer replaced. And you need to do it before the decay becomes serious. Yes, you can lighten teeth with porcelain veneers slightly by bleaching the underlying teeth from behind, but this isn’t a simple lightening problem.

Be very careful about who you have do it. If you are going to the same dentist who did it, I would want to ask him or her to re-do it and do as nice a job on the color as before. This is a rare skill, and don’t expect another dentist to be able to duplicate that unless they have pretty strong cosmetic dentistry credentials.

But hopefully his or her bonding skills have improved over the past seven years. Because the bond is failing next to the gums but appears to be doing fine over the rest of the tooth, most likely the bonding was contaminated from seepage from the gums. So hopefully he or she has learned how to control that seepage, which is necessary for a long-term bonding result.

This blog sponsored by Naperville cosmetic dentist Dr. David Newkirk

Links: read more about Naperville teeth whitening.