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Can You Whiten Porcelain Veneers?



Cosmetic porcelain veneers are custom-made shells made of tooth-coloured materials used to cover the front surface of teeth. Veneers are used to improve your overall smile by changing the colour, shape, size or length of the tooth in question. Because the shells are bonded to the front of the tooth (or teeth), they are not noticeable and will appear natural unless the rest of your mouth is discoloured. Many Canadians turn to cosmetic porcelain veneers to perfect their smile as they are a more permanent solution to improving our grins than regular tooth whitening. It is exceptionally rare but after time porcelain veneers can change from bright, gorgeous white to a less appealing colour.

Can You Whiten Porcelain Veneers?

Why do cosmetic porcelain veneers change colour?

Porcelain veneers do not usually change colour as they are durable and created to mimic the colour of real teeth. However, there are three uncommon occurrences that can cause cosmetic porcelain veneers to become discoloured:

  1. As we age our gums recede, leaving the spot where the veneer meets the tooth exposed. This can cause little brown lines on your teeth because the veneers are put in place with glue composite that is now exposed, allowing it to be stained by coffee, wine, and other dark food and drinks. Unfortunately, gum recession cannot be reversed.

  2. There was a trauma (for example, you were playing a contact sport and were hit in the face) that caused the dentin (the tooth’s inner tissue) to incur damage. When dentin is damaged it turns yellow, making the veneer appear discoloured.

  3. If your veneers were made over twenty years ago, they may not be made with porcelain at all. They could be made with plastic or a more porous porcelain that is not as durable as the ones used today.

Are there products that can whiten veneers?

If you have cosmetic porcelain veneers there are no products that will be able to whiten them. You can replace your veneers with new ones or apply a whitening gel to the back of the tooth to lighten the yellowed dentin so that when it reflects through the veneer, it looks whiter. Sometimes, if the stain on your veneer is light, your dental hygienist will be able to polish it out. If you are having your old veneers replaced, your dentist will recommend that you whiten your natural teeth first to ensure that everything in your mouth matches. It is not mandatory that you whiten your natural teeth, however, it helps with the overall uniformity of your mouth’s look.

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Dr. Stacey Stein
A graduate from the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto, Dr. Stacy Stein provides personalized care to each patient by explaining the risks and benefits of different treatment options in an honest way, and involves patients in their own care. With a focus on preventative, paediatrics, restorative, prosthodontics, and endodontics, she loves working with patients of all ages.