Dental Veneers, often made out of porcelain, a thin shell-like material that covers the front part of your teeth to avoid discoloration or a slightly crooked shape. Getting veneers allows you to alter the shape, size, length, and color of your teeth. They offer a very comfortable fit and are stuck to your teeth with cement. Although for crooked teeth, you could get transparent aligners like invisalign but it could take a while before you achieve perfect results. Although it is a better option in the long run, it does not take care of teeth discoloration and shine.
Porcelain veneers generally last upto 10-15 years but in order to make them last, we must be able to take care and maintain them. If not taken care of, it could lead to changing them much sooner.
When you decide to get veneers, one must note that maintaining good dental hygiene is necessary. Here are a few things that are recommended.
- Use a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth, a hard toothbrush could damage or scratch the porcelain veneers, maybe not immediately but overtime. Hence, it is recommended to use a toothbrush with soft bristles.
- Use toothpastes which do not have harsh abrasives in their formula like gel toothpastes. Check the back of the box when you’re buying toothpaste. Stay clear of hydrogen peroxide or baking soda. Since you have the veneers, you should avoid any whitening toothpastes. These toothpastes contain harsh ingredients that could damage the surface of the veneer which could cause it to collect tiny food particles and discoloration causing it to look.
- Keeping in mind that it is required that you do not go too hard with your toothbrush and toothpaste, you must also bear in mind to not damage your teeth by brushing too hard. Brushing your teeth too hard even otherwise should be avoided, it causes more damage than good.
- Having veneers does not mean that one can forget their oral hygiene. It is still recommended to brush twice a day and floss once a day to ensure that your veneers are in top condition.
- If you have recently got veneers, your dentist must have mentioned that you should come for a regular check up. This is to ensure that your gums and teeth are healthy and your veneers are in good condition. In special circumstances, your veneers may need repairs or could have some damage because of eating certain food items, which makes a regular appointment with your dentist all the more necessary.
- Mouthwash that contains alcohol-based mouthwash can damage the adhesive composite that bonds the teeth to the veneers. The alcohol in the mouthwash affects the strength of the bonding composite.
Food & Dietary Requirements
Your teeth and bones are the strongest parts of your body. Veneers are not quite as strong as either. Hence, there are certain foods to avoid as a general rule of thumb.
- Avoid hard foods like ice, candy and nuts. They are hard for your teeth to bite and veneers are not as strong. Eating hard foods makes the veneers prone to scratches and fractures.
- Avoid sticky foods like caramel, bubblegum and cotton candy
- Some meat when cooked specifically are tougher than others. Avoid eating tough meat as it can be hard to chew with veneers and puts a lot of strain on your teeth and gums.
- Although veneers are stain resistant to a certain extent, the adhesive used is not. Hence one must avoid eating foods that can stain veneers like coffee, tea, cola, foods with a lot of turmeric.
- Avoid extremely acidic foods like lemon, tomato paste and fizzy drinks as it can compromise the adhesive.
Now that we’ve covered what to avoid, let’s talk about what we can eat.
- Most fruits and foods. Eggs, mashed potatoes are a few examples.
- If you’re going to have coffee, tea, cola or red wine, at least drink it with a straw to avoid staining the veneers.
- Cooked grains like pasta, couscous and rice.
As you see, there are more food items you can eat rather than not, hence do not worry too much and remember – moderation is key, just like for everything else.
It is common knowledge that our lifestyle affects our health. Here are a few things worth noting
- Smoking can cause the edges of your veneers to become stained and could start looking yellowish or brownish. The tar and the nicotine can also stain the adhesive making your teeth slightly dirty at the corners of the veneers.
- Alcohol consumption in moderation is okay however too much of it can weaken the adhesive that keeps the veneers stuck to your teeth. Hence, if you would like to have your smile bright uniformly, try and steer away from too much alcohol. Drinking it with a straw would help so your teeth are not in direct contact.
- If you have a habit of grinding your teeth, this could damage your veneers. If you haven’t already fixed the habit before getting the veneers it is advisable to inform your dentist and consult them as to what you can do to prevent or reduce any damage that may have been caused.
Getting porcelain veneers is a great way to have great, healthy looking teeth especially if they are stained or crooked however, there are a few things to note when getting them so that you can ensure they last for a long time. Since veneers are rather expensive, it is good to note some of the lifestyle changes you may have to make in terms of smoking and alcohol intake.
All in all, now you’re ready to go out to town with your new porcelain veneers showing off that million dollar smile everywhere you go.
Dr. Nabil Mockbil is an Orthodontist who received his DDS in 2001 from Umea University in Sweden, regarded as having the best dentist programme in Sweden for undergraduates. He’s now the founder of Swedish Dental Clinic in Dubai.