In March 2023, my dentist did dental bonding on six upper front teeth. Over the past 15 years, I’ve had composite done every five or six years. The newest composite is beginning to turn yellow. Can this be polished away or whitened, or will my dentist have to redo it? I hope she doesn’t use this to convince me to get porcelain veneers. I want another opinion before hearing what my dentist has to say. Thank you. Krystina from Chicago
Dental bonding should not turn yellow within a few months unless you are a heavy smoker.
Why Is Your Dental Composite Turning Yellow?
Dental composite may turn yellow prematurely depending on its quality or whether your dentist applied and polished it well. You can ask your dentist to replace the bonding or get a second opinion on the bonding quality from an advanced cosmetic dentist.
How to Take Care of Composite Bonding
You can take preventive care of composite bonding on your teeth. These steps will help you maintain the appearance of your veneers longer.
- Choose an expert cosmetic dentist – Although general dentists stock composite for general purposes, advanced cosmetic dentists have a full inventory of composite materials. General-purpose composites are impossible to polish to a high, stain-resistant gloss like tooth enamel. A cosmetic dentist will provide a high-quality composite that lasts longer.
- Avoid abrasive toothpaste – Choose toothpaste, like Supersmile, made for cosmetic dentistry work. Although it costs more than other brands, it will not scratch the composite surface and increase the risk of staining.
- Ensure your hygienist uses fine abrasives. A dental hygienist should only polish your teeth with a fine abrasive. Hygienists trained to care for composite often use a fine aluminum oxide polish.
- Limit how often you drink staining beverages – If you drink dark sodas, wine, or berry juices, swallow them quickly rather than letting them linger in your mouth. Hot drinks like coffee and tea slightly expand the composite and leave stains more easily. Drink water or rinse your mouth after drinking staining beverages.
How Do Porcelain Veneers and Composite Bonding Compare?
Some differences between porcelain veneers and composite bonding that most general dentists provide include:
- Strength – Porcelain is tough, but composite is softer.
- Stain resistance – Porcelain is colorfast and resists stains better than tooth enamel. Composite is susceptible to stains, but an advanced cosmetic dentist can usually polish out surface discoloration. Stains that get absorbed into the composite will not polish out.
- Longevity – Porcelain veneers can last 15 years, but composite must be replaced or refreshed every five years.
Whether you choose composite or porcelain veneers, you will get the best results from a dentist with advanced cosmetic dentistry training. If your dentist cannot improve the stains in your new composite, consider getting a second opinion from a skilled cosmetic dentist.
Beverly Hills accredited fellow of cosmetic dentistry Dr. Brian LeSage sponsors this post.