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Why Do My New Porcelain Veneers Look Old?

A cosmetic dentist completed my smile makeover with veneers in mid-August. I drove 75 miles for each appointment because of this dentist’s reputation. It’s almost December, and my veneers do not look as white and glossy. I am almost heartbroken. I plan to return to the dentist in January, but I dread a series of appointments with her to improve or replace my veneers. Why is this happening, and what can I expect for repairs?  – Savannah from Toledo, OH


Thank you for your question. Dr. Lim would need to examine your smile makeover to determine why it is losing its luster, but we will explain what can happen to veneers.

What Can Cause New Porcelain Veneers to Look Old?

New porcelain veneers might look old due to glaze damage or the materials used to make your veneers.

Damage to the glaze

Abrasive chemicals or power polishing equipment can damage and dull the glaze on porcelain veneers. If your veneers lost luster within a few months, perhaps a dental professional used the wrong tools or materials.

  • Acidulated fluoride – Although acidulated fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and prevents decay, it will scratch the porcelain. The scratches will easily attract stains and darken your veneers.
  • Power polishing equipment – While cleaning your teeth, a hygienist must know how to care for your veneers, including which tools and materials to use and what to avoid. When mistakenly using power polishing equipment (e.g., Prophy Jet) on your veneers, the result is a matte finish.

Composition of Your Veneers

Veneers can be porcelain or composite. Porcelain veneers are stain-resistant and stronger than tooth enamel, but composite veneers are softer. If you have composite veneers, abrasive toothpaste, alcohol-based mouthwash, or pumice polish can decrease the gloss or luster of composite veneers.

Can a Dentist Restore Your Porcelain Veneers?

Yes, an advanced cosmetic dentist can restore your smile makeover by polishing your veneers with these steps:

  • Use diamond polishing instruments and polishing paste
  • Add further gloss using ultrafine diamond polishing paste

We wish you a satisfying resolution.

Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso, Oklahoma, cosmetic dentist, sponsors this post.


Can Diabetes Cause Jaw Pain?

After getting four new crowns and a custom night guard for teeth grinding and TMJ, my dentist says my TMJ is diabetes related. Neither the night guard nor the crowns have relieved my jaw tightness and pain. How could diabetes be the problem? – Thank you. Nigel from Indianapolis


Thank you for your question. Dr. Lim would need to review your dental history, perform an exam, and take x-rays to determine if underlying issues with your teeth, bite, or jaw alignment is causing the problems. We will explain whether diabetes may be related to TMJ.

Are Diabetes and Jaw Pain Related?

About half of people with type 2 diabetes and 20 percent with type 1 diabetes develop diabetic neuropathy. Still, only .05% of them develop craniofacial neuropathy. The condition is rare, and a skilled dentist would rule out other causes of jaw pain before determining whether diabetes is causing your TMJ symptoms.

TMJ and Teeth Grinding

Diagram of the side of a skull highlighting the temporomandibular join
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ)

If you grind your teeth, the pressure affects your jaw muscles and can lead to TMJ disorder. A custom night guard is a simple, noninvasive treatment to address discomfort. When a night guard does not resolve the issue, a dentist may look for other causes, including:

  • Bite imbalance
  • Teeth misalignment
  • Jaw position

Teeth or Jaw Misalignment and TMJ

Braces realign your teeth and can resolve TMJ concerns related to teeth alignment. But if the jaw position is causing TMJ discomfort, you probably need orthodontic treatment to correct your jaw’s position. We suggest getting a second opinion and exam to determine whether your teeth, arch, or jaw are causing your discomfort. The second-opinion dentist will need to see your x-rays and 3-D images of your oral anatomy or order the tests for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Review a few dentists’ credentials before choosing one for a second opinion.

Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso, Oklahoma dentist, sponsors this post.


My New Porcelain Veneer Is the Wrong Color

My new porcelain veneer is the wrong color. I’ve had veneers since 2009, but one broke last month. Although the veneers looked good in the dental office, I could see that the shade did not match my other veneers and teeth. My dentist sent the veneer back, and I returned to the office when the new one came. I thought my dentist used temporary paste, but she bonded the veneer because she said it was a match. Although my current dentist did not do my veneers in 2009, shouldn’t she be able to match one veneer with the others? Do you have a tip I can give her to get it right this time? Thank you. Terah from NJ



Thank you for contacting Dr. Lim’s office. We understand your concerns and frustration.

How Can You Color Match a Porcelain Veneer?

A porcelain veneer held by dental forceps
Porcelain veneer

Trained cosmetic dentists color match a porcelain veneer with several steps, starting with using the correct lighting. When veneer color does not match, a skilled cosmetic dentist understands how to manipulate the tint on the veneer, but a dentist should refrain from attempting it. Color-correct fluorescent lighting in the dental office can help a dentist achieve a perfect match.

An advanced cosmetic dentist may use this technique when veneers return from the dental lab in the wrong color:

  • Send photographs of your teeth to help the ceramist see the shade difference
  • Send a detailed description of the desired shade
  • Collaborate with the dental ceramist and try as many times as needed to correct the color

Using Polishing Techniques to Correct Veneer Color

Specific diamond polishing wheels and pastes can correct the color of a porcelain veneer. Still, if your dentist lacks the training, tools, and materials to polish veneers, please do not insist on this technique.

We recommend getting a second opinion from an advanced cosmetic dentist to examine your veneer and determine whether they can correct the color or if you need a new veneer. If you need to switch dentists to correct the color of your porcelain veneer, ask for your dental records and a history of your veneers, including the details of your 2009 veneers case. The dental records will help your new cosmetic dentist and the dental lab achieve a perfect match.


Dr. Heng Lim, an Owasso, Oklahoma, cosmetic dentist, sponsors this post.