How can I remove stains from my porcelain veneers?

My porcelain veneers aren’t as white as they used to be. I drink a lot of dark soda and coffee and I think it stained them. What can I do to make them white again? — Vanessa

Dear Vanessa,
Porcelain veneers have a glaze that should make them resistant to staining. The only reason they could possibly stain is if the glaze has been compromised – either by abrasives in the air or from a harsh toothpaste you’re using. The glaze could also be affected by your dentist using a pumice paste or an air-powered cleaner.

There’s a couple of things you could try:

  1. Supersmile tooth-whitening toothpaste is great for removing surface stains like coffee or tobacco. It won’t work as well on stains that are embedded in the porcelain.
  2. Laser tooth whitening or tray teeth whitening will bleach the stains.

Ideally, it would be best to find an expert cosmetic dentist to polish your veneers to restore their original shine. It won’t bring back the glaze, but it will remove the current stains and make them more resistant to staining again in the future.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

How long will bonding done by the emergency dentist last?

I slipped and fell on the ice last weekend. Unfortunately, my face broke my fall. I wound up with a black eye and a serious chunk of one of my front teeth missing. I went to the emergency dentist to have it checked out. He took x-rays and told me the tooth looked like it was ok structurally. Then, he patched it up and told me to follow up with my regular dental office to have it permanently fixed and checked on again later. I don’t want to waste time and money on another appointment if it isn’t necessary and it looks like he used the same stuff that’s usually used in fillings. Do I really need to go back or can I just let this one be? The patch job by the emergency dentist looks just fine to me.  — Don

Dear Don,
Glad to hear you’re mostly ok after the fall. As for the tooth, the emergency dentist probably did use the same composite material that’s normally used in fillings. If that’s the case, it could last years, perhaps even decades.

With that said, there’s probably more to this than simple bonding. First of all, the tooth was traumatized. Sometimes when a tooth is injured by blunt force, it doesn’t give off any symptoms right away. However, the blood flow to the tooth could have been cut off and that wouldn’t show up on x-rays. If this is the case, the tooth could be dead or dying, and it will eventually need a root canal. Unfortunately, the first sign this has happened is often pain or an abscess, though sometimes the person notices discoloration as well. Anytime you see an emergency dentist, he’ll refer you back to your regular office for a follow-up. In cases with trauma, having the dentist check out the tooth again later could save you a lot of pain and trouble.

As for your comment about having the tooth permanently fixed, could he have mentioned to you that the tooth needed a crown? If the chip was severe, the bonding won’t be adequate and the tooth will need all-around protection. Your best bet is to follow the advice of the emergency dentist and schedule a visit with your regular office to get it checked out. If you’re still wary, you can always call the office that did the work and clarify why he wanted you to follow up.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

I think my amalgam fillings may be contributing to my migraines

I have had migraines for as long as I can remember. I’ve spent years consulting with my doctor trying to pinpoint a cause of them, but we haven’t been able to find anything specific as far as triggers. The headaches can come on as often as two to three times a week and they are relentless. All I do is hide away in a dark room and pray that my pain medication works. I will do anything to make these things go away and last week I came across some information linking migraines to amalgam fillings. I took this info to my dentist and he dismissed the notion saying there is no specific evidence. Even if there was the slightest chance that I could get some relief by removing my amalgam fillings, I want to do it. The headaches are affecting my quality of life, not to mention my job. I’ve already been written up at work for missing so many days. — Marcia

Migraines can no doubt be debilitating — and frustrating if you can’t pinpoint a cause for them. You’ve brought up a subject that is very much a controversy among dentists these days. The ADA continues to maintain that amalgam fillings are safe, but that hasn’t stopped a growing number of dentists (around half of all in the U.S) who are joining a movement to completely stop using silver/amalgam fillings that contain mercury.

While we know that mercury is toxic, the argument centers more around how much mercury is in these fillings and how much exposure is safe. Most scientists believe that fillings only contain a very small amount and it’s considered safe. Silver fillings have been shown in research to cause several health issues including auto-immune disorders, neurological issues and migraines. There have been a growing number of patients who have improved their health after having amalgam fillings removed. Other countries have even gone so far as to ban the use of mercury fillings.

Even if your dentist does not believe your fillings are the cause of your migraines, it won’t hurt to ask if he would replace them for you. Something else you might consider is a holistic dentist. They focus on not only how teeth work, but also how the body is affected when you have issues with your mouth. A holistic dentist will understand your concerns regarding mercury fillings and will remove them in the safest way possible to ensure the least amount of mercury exposure.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

Is my bad breath caused by generic brand of Lumineers?

I recently made some big changes in my life in regards to my health and wellness. Now that I am in a good place, one of the last things I would like to do is transform my smile. Since I hadn’t really taken care of my teeth for a long time, I had some periodontal disease that needed taken care of and after treatment and a few deep-cleanings, I was ready to move forward. I chose to go the route of Lumineers, but when my dentist said he didn’t do them, but rather another brand of ultra thin veneers, I didn’t question him about it and we started the process. It’s been a few months and I can’t say enough about how much I love my teeth! I can’t stop smiling because they look so good. The only thing I have noticed is something has changed with my breath – and it’s not for the better. It stinks! The dentist says I am not practicing good dental hygiene, but I know that’s not true. I got to thinking about this other brand of veneers he used. I didn’t question him about it at the time, but now I’m wondering if they were some sort of knock-off brand that isn’t as good and they are causing the problem.  — Catherine

Dear Catherine,
You’ll find many dentists who opt for other brands of ultra-thin veneers over Lumineers. They find them better not only in quality, but in functionality and fit. Another great advantage is that dentists – particularly skilled cosmetic dentists — can use a lab of their choice to give patients more aesthetic results.

Bad breath is often hard to pinpoint, but one of the first things to look into is your diet. Did you change anything about the foods you’ve been eating since you had the veneers placed? You mentioned periodontal disease which can also be a source. After living with it for so long, you might not have even noticed the smell. The treatments and deep cleanings probably took care of any odors, but if it’s been a while, your gums could be showing signs of disease again.

Make an appointment with your dentist for another cleaning and be sure your hygienist is aware of your concerns. The veneers could have created some hidden areas that you might be missing when you brush. Bacteria and food might be trapped and you don’t know it. She can take a good look and if there are those types of areas, she can give you tips on how to get them clean.

If the gum disease was severe, you might ask about more frequent cleanings in the short-term. If you try all these things and there’s still no improvement, get a second opinion. In the event the veneers were bonded incorrectly or improperly shaped, it’s possible you can get them adjusted or reshaped.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.