I’m getting married next year and really hate my teeth at the moment. I have veneers on the two front teeth but I have had them since I was 16. I am now 32 and they are going black at the top they are also a horrible yellow colour. I am so depressed. Why do they look like this and what can be done?
– Lisa from Liverpool
Porcelain veneers should be able to last 16 years if they are reasonably well taken care of and shouldn’t be turning yellow. You didn’t say these were porcelain veneers, so let’s assume they are composite veneers. Composite will discolor easily, and they can begin to discolor as soon as a year after they are placed, depending on your eating, drinking, and/or smoking habits. Porcelain veneers, if they are later cleaned with power polishing sprays such as the Prophy Jet, will lose their glaze and will similarly begin to turn yellow. You may want to read my page on yellow porcelain veneers.
The black at the top would probably be from leakage – the bond is failing near the gumline. This is a sign that they need to be replaced. If the dentist isn’t extremely careful in the bonding technique when veneers are placed, the place where that bond will begin to fail will usually be at the gumline. What happens is that fluid seeps up from the gums during the bonding process. Expert cosmetic dentists will pack what is called retraction cord between the gum and the tooth, and this cord will be impregnated with an astringent that will prevent any fluid from seeping in and contaminating the bond. This is a fairly demanding requirement of the bonding process, and dentists who don’t know what they are doing, or who are careless, will get contamination of that bond and over time you will see that blackening of the veneer near the gumline.
Bottom line: You need to get these veneers replaced. Not just for the sake of their appearance, but the leakage leads to decay underneath them, so that needs to be cleaned out before it goes too far.
– Dr. Hall
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