A white smile is a sign of health and youth, and according to a recent survey, wealth too.The problem is that teeth whitening is often only effective for a short period of time, and may not work on all types of tooth staining. Porcelain veneers can often whiten teeth that chemical whitening cannot, and it offers some benefits, but it also has its limits.

When Porcelain Veneers Are Recommended

Porcelain veneers are going to be recommended if your teeth are discolored by stains that won’t respond to chemical whitening. Chemical whitening works best on organic stain molecules that get trapped in the teeth due to exposure to staining foods and drink. It also works well on stains due to smoking.

But teeth whitening doesn’t work on stains that are actually incorporated into the tooth. When a tooth is discolored because of enamel defects, porcelain veneers can replace the defective enamel to give your smile a uniform color. Porcelain veneers can also help if your enamel is thinning and allowing the yellowish dentin to show through, or if your tooth has suffered a dead pulp and turned brown or black.

How White Can Your Teeth Be?

Porcelain veneers can be made of many different materials with a range of translucency. The more translucent the material, the more light and color it allows to pass through. Some veneer materials are very good at concealing dark colors, but none can completely conceal a black background.

If your teeth are slightly discolored due to enamel defects or thinning enamel, there’s almost no limit to the whiteness of your teeth. If you are trying to color a blackened tooth, it can be made comparable to the whiteness of your natural teeth, but not as white as other veneered teeth can be made.

Benefits of Whitening with Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers not only allow you to achieve whiter results, they also give results that last longer. While teeth whitening results will last for months (or weeks if you’re a smoker or heavy coffee drinker), porcelain veneers can give you years of a whiter smile.

Porcelain veneers can also reshape your teeth at the same time they’re whitening. If you have a small tooth, a chipped tooth, a poorly formed tooth, or a gap in your smile, porcelain veneers can fix that, too.

Understanding the Limits of Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are a great treatment option, but they do have limits. Although they will usually last for a decade or more, some things can cause them to fail prematurely, such as a poor bite or using your teeth to crack nuts or open bottles. They also tend not to last as long when bonded to a tooth that has died.

During your consultation, we will talk about your smile and help you decide whether porcelain veneers are the right whitening option for you. To schedule your consultation at our office in Spokane or Spokane Valley, please contact Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics today.