Treating Stained Porcelain Veneers

Dear Dr. Hall,

I have veneers and have noticed slight staining at the edges by the gums. What can I personally do to help diminish these stains? Will some of the whitening treatments out on the market today help? How a about Listerine’s new whitening wash?

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

—Regards, Carole in Delaware

Dear Carole,

I notice you’re saying that the stains are on the edges of your porcelain veneers. The porcelain, as long as it maintains its glaze, is very stain-resistant. It can be mistreated-polished with air abrasive instruments or treated with acid fluoride treatments so that it breaks the glaze and becomes rough and porous. When these things are done, they will discolor easily after that. But you are talking about the edges, which is common. As it ages, the composite that bonds these restorations to the tooth can easily become susceptible to staining, and that’s what is happening in your case.

Teeth become discolored from substances you eat or drink, such as coffee, tea, berries. Peridex anti-bacterial mouthwash is the worst at causing stains.

There are two ways to try to remove these. One is easier and less expensive and may work, and the other is more expensive but will definitely work.

I’d start by trying Supersmile toothpaste, which is formulated to dissolve the pellicle that attracts these tooth stains, and is specially designed for using with cosmetic dental work-veneers and bonding. They don’t sell it in stores, but you can buy it from the manufacturer (, or from some cosmetic dentists, or we offer it with free shipping on our site. Besides being a great stain-remover, the toothpaste is very gentle so that it doesn’t cause scratching or roughening or premature deterioration of the composite bond.

If that doesn’t remove them, then you should go to a REAL cosmetic dentist for a maintenance polish. An expert cosmetic dentist can polish those margins so that the stain goes away and so that they won’t become stained again soon. Unfortunately, we don’t have anyone to recommend in Delaware yet. (We’ve tried. But true cosmetic dentists are few and far between.) To be sure you’re getting a fully qualified cosmetic dentist, I’d recommend going to someone on our list who is the easiest for you to get to. Just call the office ahead of time, make it clear what you want and that you want to do it in only one visit. It should be worth the trip to get them beautiful again.

—Dr. Hall

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