Smoking may be one of the reasons why you want your teeth whitened. If you smoke a lot or have smoked for years, then your teeth may be discoloured with a yellow or brown tinge.
If you've decided to get your original whiteness back, then you may be thinking about having veneers fitted to your front teeth. As a smoker, you have some extra decisions to make during this process as your habit may also affect veneer surfaces. How do veneers react to smoke stains and how can you manage staining in the future?
Smoking and Veneer Discolouration
Depending on the services your cosmetic dentistry professional offers, you can usually choose between two types of dental veneer. Porcelain veneers are shells of material that are glued on top of teeth, kind of like false fingernails; composite veneers use bonding materials to sculpt false fronts directly on to teeth.
While both options whiten your teeth, they'll handle future stains differently. For example, you aren't likely to see smoking stains appear on porcelain veneers. These veneers are made from non-porous materials that don't suck in and hold staining. However, composite veneers don't have this protection, so you may notice that they get discoloured over time if you carry on smoking.
Warning: While porcelain veneer shells don't stain, the glue that holds them on your teeth may discolour. If you smoke, this could leave you with dark lines around the veneer shells.
Minimising Smoke Discolouration
If you can't or won't give up smoking when you have veneers, then your dentist may recommend that you take extra steps to keep stains off your teeth. For example, as well as maintaining a good dental hygiene routine at home, your dentist may recommend that you have regular appointments to have your teeth cleaned and polished in the clinic. Professional deep cleans may help keep some staining at bay.
Managing Smoke Discolouration
It's also important to know what will happen if your veneers do get discoloured over time, as this may affect the type of veneer you choose. It's usually easier to do remedial work on composite veneers than porcelain ones.
For example, composite veneers are easier to fix and spruce up than porcelain options. If you opt for porcelain veneers and get staining around them, then your dentist may need to remove the veneers and the stained glue before replacing them.
To find out more about which veneers are best for you, ask your dentist for advice.