I just had a cosmetic total upper smile make over from a very credible cosmetic dentist. I am in love with the results and have been caring for my new smile better than I would my natural teeth. It was a HUGE investment, so one has to be particularly attentive. I am currently brushing with Crest 3D Glamorous white toothpaste, as it was the best toothpaste at the drug store and rinsing with Listerine whitening 6 in one with fluoride. I’ve noticed that the pearly luminescent white sheen is now significantly diminished in just over 2 months from the reconstruction. I read online that a mild baking soda paste could restore the sheen. That was tried with no success. Could my toothpaste be the problem and can the nice sheen be restored by my dentist? Will Supersmile toothpaste restore the sheen at home? And if not will it preserve the sheen if my dentist can restore the luster in office? I have an appointment with my cosmetic dentist next week and intend to ask her the same questions. Hopefully, you can reply so I am fully educated before my visit next week. I really enjoyed reading your website. Thank you for your time and consideration.
– Aaron in Indiana
There are two possible reasons for a loss in luster of a smile makeover within only two months. I don’t have enough information to tell you which of these is the case. If you can give me more information about exactly what was done, what material was used, and about the dentist who did them, I could tell you.
Porcelain itself is extremely hard, harder than tooth enamel, and it would take a pretty potent abrasive to dull its shine. Toothpaste alone wouldn’t do it. Power polishing equipment (such as the Prophy Jet) that is used by some dental hygienists will take away the glaze and cause the porcelain to go dull. Another thing a dental hygienist can do is to give you a fluoride treatment with acidulated fluoride. This form of fluoride has hydrofluoric acid in it, which will etch porcelain, dulling the surface and making it susceptible to stain.
The other cause of a loss in luster of a smile makeover would be that the makeover is not porcelain but composite. Composite isn’t nearly as hard as porcelain and is softer than tooth structure. A number of things can dull the shine of composite, including a toothpaste that is too abrasive, or ordinary polishing pumice used by most dental hygienists. Besides that, your mouthwash, the Listerine Whitening 6 in 1 with Fluoride, has alcohol in it. Alcohol will soften the composite so that it is even more susceptible to scratching and staining. I’d skip the mouthwash – most mouthwashes have alcohol in them.
I hope this is helpful.
(See the follow-up post: Do porcelain veneers lose their shine that quickly? Aaron tells what was done and sends a photo of the work.)
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does advanced internet marketing for dentists.
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