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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.