How to Clean and Care for Natural Looking Veneers
The average veneer costs $800 per tooth. But if you want more natural-looking veneers, you can expect an average cost of $1,500–$1,800 per tooth. That means a total price tag of $25,600–$57,600 to replace your whole smile!
Veneers are a significant investment. And because getting veneers is a cosmetic dental routine, insurance will not cover the cost. The good news is that as long as you take good care of them, veneers can last 5–10+ years.
Like your regular teeth, you have to practice good oral hygiene to get the most out of your dental veneers. We are bringing you this guide to help you learn the best ways to care for your new teeth.
Want to know how to keep your veneers looking in tip-top shape for years to come? Then keep reading this ultimate guide on caring for veneers to get the most out of your investment.
How to Clean Your Veneers Safely
Dental veneers look and act like real teeth. But it is important to remember that veneers are not real teeth. As such, they require special care and attention when you are cleaning your teeth.
Your dentist should give you a list of recommendations after you first get your veneers. It will guide you through how to clean and care for your new teeth. We will include some of these recommendations below for your convenience.
Here are the steps to include in your dental routine to safely and effectively clean your veneers.
Step 1: Buy a Soft-Bristle Toothbrush
Unlike your teeth, veneers are not covered in enamel. They consist of more sensitive materials that you can literally scratch with your toothbrush if the bristles are too hard.
This is why your dentist will recommend picking up a new toothbrush. Choose a soft-bristled brush to avoid damaging the surface of your veneers.
Better yet, consider investing in an electric toothbrush. These motorized toothbrushes exert far less pressure on your teeth while offering an even more thorough clean.
Plus, electric toothbrushes also exert less pressure on the surrounding gum tissue. This feature can help prevent bleeding and gum recession, as well as improve your overall oral health.
Step 2: Get Non-Abrasive Toothpaste
Natural teeth can handle just about anything the toothpaste industry throws their way. But as we mentioned, veneer surfaces are far more fragile than tooth enamel. So, you may also need to throw out your old toothpaste.
Avoid whitening toothpaste with ingredients like hydrogen peroxide and/or baking soda. While safe for enamel, these chemicals are far too harsh and abrasive for veneers.
A good way to tell if your toothpaste is suitable for your veneers is to check the Relative Dentiv Abrasity (RDA) scale. The American Dental Association (ADA) designed this scale to rank kinds of toothpaste in terms of abrasiveness.
The best toothpaste your dentist may recommend after getting veneers may include:
- Sensodyne Pronamel for sensitive and cavity-prone teeth
- Premier Enamelon fluoride toothpaste for sensitivity and dry mouth
- Tom's of Maine Children's natural fluoride toothpaste
Also, make sure you get toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride helps reduce your risk of dental caries (AKA cavities).
Step 3: Brush and Floss Gently
Now that you have the proper tools to clean your new veneers, you need to switch up your dental care routine in terms of brushing and flossing. Again, this is a great time to invest in an electric toothbrush.
Avoid using aggressive or otherwise forceful brushing movements to reduce the risk of chipping your veneers. Place your toothbrush at a 45° angle and use gentle back-and-forth motions to clear away buildup.
When flossing, use a gentle motion to guide the floss between each tooth and then pull it in the opposite direction. This should create a C-shape around the tooth you are flossing.
Avoid snapping your floss into your gums. This can lead to bleeding or, worse, damage to the surrounding gum tissue. Continuously snapping floss could even damage your veneers eventually.
Step 4: Use Alcohol-Free Mouthwash
Mouthwash is not required for a healthy smile. But when you have veneers, using mouthwash consistently can help keep your veneers clean and looking as white as possible.
But avoid buying mouthwash with harsh chemicals that can damage the surface of your veneers.
Do not buy mouthwash that contains hydrogen peroxide. And avoid using alcohol-containing products that can reduce the lifetime of your veneers.
Step 5: Schedule a Cleaning
So, you have followed all of the above instructions, and your veneers still look dingy or stained. What now? The next step is to call your dentist and book an appointment for some dental work.
You should be getting your teeth cleaned every six months anyway, according to the ADA's recommendations. After all, most dental insurance providers cover the cost of two dental visits per year.
This recommendation becomes even more important when you have veneers. Regular cleanings can help your new teeth stay white and in good shape for longer, so you can get the most out of your investment.
Ongoing Care for Your Veneers
Knowing how to clean your new veneers is all well and good. But just like normal teeth, your veneers can still get stained and damaged over time. You can reduce this risk by practicing ongoing care.
Here are our top tips for keeping your veneers looking like new for longer.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
The ADA recommends the following practices for maintaining good oral hygiene:
- Brush at least twice a day or, optimally, after each meal
- Replace your toothbrush when the bristles wear out
- Floss at least twice a day
- Use an alcohol-free mouthwash
One of the reasons why this is important is that failing to take care of your teeth may lead to gum disease. And gum disease doesn't just damage your enamel. It can damage your veneers, too.
Avoid Tobacco Products
Tobacco products are notorious for leaving teeth yellowed and unsightly. And we are not just talking about cigarettes. Chewing tobacco, cigars, pipes, hookah, and even tobacco vapes can cause stained veneers.
To avoid this problem, try to reduce or even eliminate your tobacco use. Quitting tobacco is good for your oral health and your overall health, too.
As mentioned when we talk about mouthwash, alcohol can damage the materials that make up your veneers.
More specifically, alcohol softens the bonding materials used to adhere the veneer to your natural teeth. When that material softens, it becomes more prone to staining and decay.
What is more, some alcoholic drinks can stain your teeth directly. Red wine, for example, can stain both veneers and natural teeth.
Wear a Mouthguard
No matter what kind of veneers you have, they are susceptible to mechanical damage. One type of mechanical damage that happens commonly is from grinding your teeth at night.
Mouthguards are products that can help reduce the side effects of teeth grinding, especially while you are sleeping.
Try to keep from clenching your teeth, too. A mouthguard can help if you do this primarily at night. But the most common cause of daytime teeth clenching is too much stress and stimulant abuse.
Avoid Hard Foods
Some hard foods are not recommended for people with veneers. This includes but is not limited to hard candy and ice. You should also avoid opening products with your teeth, chewing on pencils, etc.
Hard foods can cause chips and wear to your veneers. And eating these foods can even be bad for your natural teeth, requiring new veneers.
Avoid Dark Liquids
We have talked about red wine already. But there are other dark liquids that can also stain your veneers, including:
- Coke and other dark-colored soft drinks
- Red fruit juices
- Tomato-based juices
You may also want to avoid foods consisting of red berries, tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce. Check out this article to learn more about foods and drinks that can stain your natural teeth and veneers.
Attend Your Regular Cleanings
We want to mention this again because it is just so important! You may not have gone to the dentist biannually before you got veneers. But you should absolutely start doing so now.
During your routine cleaning, your dentist can clear away stains and debris that you may not get to while brushing and flossing. This can keep your veneers looking better and lasting for much, much longer.
How to Whiten Stained Veneers
Stains are a common problem with composite veneers. But even older porcelain veneers may get a little dingy over time. Here are three tips for brightening your veneers.
Get Professional Whitening
The materials that make up dental veneers do not usually respond well to at-home whitening products. Most dentists also recommend avoiding the use of whitening toothpaste, as it may damage the surface of your veneers.
The better choice, then, is to head into your dentist's office for professional whitening. Your dentist knows the proper techniques to brighten your veneers without damaging them.
For example, people with porcelain veneers who notice staining or dinginess may not realize that the stains could come from the underlying tooth. In this case, the dentist can whiten the backs of your teeth to brighten your smile.
Replace Your Veneers
Unfortunately, if your veneer(s) do not respond to professional whitening, the only solution is to get a replacement. That means you will have to pay for a whole new veneer.
Your dentist may still recommend getting the rest of your teeth whitened. That way, your natural teeth will match the new veneer.
Get Porcelain Veneers
The #1 way to have whiter, brighter veneers is to avoid staining them in the first place. But you can not always avoid all of the products that may stain or damage your veneers.
This is why we recommend porcelain veneers to all of our dental patients. Below, we will explain why.
Porcelain Veneers: The Longest-Lasting and Most Natural-Looking Veneers
Porcelain veneers are the best veneers. For that reason, they cost more than traditional veneers made of composite materials.
But before you rule out porcelain veneers, consider this: porcelain veneers may actually cost you less in the long term. Here's why.
Porcelain Veneers Are Durable
Compared to composite veneers, porcelain teeth can last twice as long. The average porcelain veneer can last up to 15 years with proper care and cleaning, prolonging the lifetime of your investment.
This is because bonded porcelain is far stronger than composite material. You are more likely to chip a composite veneer than a porcelain one.
Porcelain Veneers Look More Natural
Dentists use very thin translucent porcelain to create this type of veneer. This allows the porcelain to mimic enamel in the way they catch the light.
That is why it is so hard to tell the difference between porcelain veneers and natural teeth!
Porcelain Veneers Are Stain-Resistant
The top reason many people get porcelain veneers is that they are stain-resistant. Your porcelain veneers will stay whiter and brighter for longer than your natural teeth.
This fact can even save you money on whitening procedures. And this is yet another reason why porcelain veneers can save you money in the long run.
Looking for 'Porcelain Veneers Near Me'?
Porcelain veneers are the most natural-looking veneers. But they can also help you save money on the total cost of veneers since they are more durable and stain-resistant than composite veneers.
Are you looking for veneer dentists in Orlando, FL? Dr. Phillips Dental Spa offers general family dentistry and cosmetic services, including veneers. Schedule an appointment at our Orlando office today!