I hope you can help me. I recently had extensive cosmetic work on all my upper teeth. My restorative dental work was an expensive undertaking, so I want to take care of my teeth, so they’ll last a long time. I’ve been brushing and rinsing with over-the-counter products. However, after two months of this, my bright, white veneers have become noticeably less shiny. I even tried restoring their brightness with baking soda, but that had no effect. Did my toothpaste or mouthwash do this to my smile? Was it too abrasive, or was I just overdoing it? I made another appointment with my cosmetic dentist, is there anything she can do? I was very happy with the whiteness of my smile makeover, so I hope I can get it back.
TJ, from Hippo, Kentucky.
A smile makeover can involve dental implants, porcelain crowns, or porcelain veneers. No matter what you had done in your mouth, it would involve ceramic or porcelain, both of which is stronger than your natural tooth enamel. Smile makeovers are designed to stand up to the repeated wear-and-tear of brushing, and last 10-20 years with proper care. If your mouthwash had acidulated fluoride in it, that could cause the porcelain to dull, but over-the-counter products don’t have that. Be sure to let any dental hygienists know about your restorative dental work before they clean your teeth; the Prophy Jet tool they use can wear down the glaze on porcelain veneers and dull their shine.
The only way brushing and rinsing can cause your smile makeover to dull is if it were made from composite, rather than porcelain in the first place. Unfortunately, composite is much softer than your tooth’s natural structure. Anything from an abrasive toothpaste to mouthwash with alcohol in it can weaken composite, making it dull and susceptible to scratching. Talk to your cosmetic dentist about your concerns at your next appointment, and in the meantime, stop rinsing with any alcohol-based mouthwashes.
This blog post is brought to you by Baton Rouge smile makeover provider, Dr. Steven Brooksher, of Dentistry by Brooksher. Please note that Dr. Brooksher is a general dentist who has had additional training in restorative and cosmetic dentistry.