If you decide to have your teeth whitened, it's important that you do everything you can to maximize the longevity of your results.
Smile Makeover Care and Maintenance
A smile makeover is an emotional and financial investment you make in yourself to enhance the health, function and appearance of your smile. You want that investment to bring happy and satisfying returns for years to come.
With proper care and regular dental visits, your smile will look good and your crowns, veneers and other restorations will last for many years. In fact, resin-based restorations (such as tooth-colored fillings) can last anywhere from three to nine years or longer with proper care. Porcelain restorations (such as veneers and crowns) can last 10 years or more before they need to be replaced.
Knowing how to modify your oral hygiene habits to best care for your restorations will help you maintain your new smile for years to come.
Highly abrasive toothpastes and tooth brushing habits can scratch the surface of restorations, dulling their polish and luster. As such, non-abrasive fluoride toothpastes are recommended. An example of non-abrasive toothpastes is Rembrandt, which was originally developed for use by people with cosmetic restorations. Brush two to three times each day for maximum effectiveness.
Flossing is a key factor in removing debris and plaque from the teeth, and actually increases the lifespan of restorations and helps prevent tooth decay. Flossing is important for everyone, but is especially important for people with veneers, since impeccable gum tissue health is important.
(Read more about flossing habits)
Mouthwashes containing alcohol have been shown to have a negative effect on composite fillings. What's more, the alcohol content in mouth rinses, over time, can degrade the bond between your restorations (crowns and veneers) and your teeth. Use alcohol-free mouthwashes instead.
(Read more about mouth rinses)
Food and Drinks to Limit or Avoid
Avoid foods high in sugar and limit between-meal snacks to prevent cavities. Limit consumption of coffee, soda, tea, etc. to keep your smile stain free.
Do not drink alcoholic beverages excessively. Too much alcohol can ruin your dental work.
Refrain from biting and/or chewing hard objects such as pens, staples, metal, bottle caps, etc.
If you grind your teeth (bruxism) and were fitted with a night guard to prevent damage to your teeth and restorations, wear it.
Considering that the cost of porcelain veneers ranges from $900 to $2,500 per tooth, and the cost of composite bonding is approximately $250 to $1500 per tooth, you'll want to follow your dentist's and hygienist's maintenance recommendations in order to maximize longevity.
Although cosmetic dental restorations are not indestructible and will eventually need to be replaced (five to seven years for composite; 10 to 15 years for porcelain), the life of your new smile depends as much on how well you take care of it as on the skill and talent of your cosmetic dentist.
Replacing a broken or fractured veneer or crown involves impressions, shade matching, a temporary and waiting for a permanent restoration. And, depending on your dentist's policy, you may be responsible for the full cost of replacing the damaged dental crown or veneer.
So, remember: Follow your dentist's instructions to ensure the long-term beauty of your new smile, and be sure to keep all follow-up and regular cleaning appointments with your dentist and hygienist.