I have dental composite bonding on all my front teeth. I have them re-done every three or four years. This latest set is only six months old and is starting to look yellow. Can this be polished to look right again or do I have to re-do them early? What would cause this to happen so quickly?
Whether or not these can be polished to get rid of the stains depends on the nature of the staining itself. Unlike porcelain, which is hard and very stain resistant, composite dental bonding is fairly soft and is susceptible to two different types of staining.
Dental Bonding Staining One
This first type of staining is surface stains. It happens because of tiny scratches on the bonding which allow it to pick up stains that are trapped there. You can tell these front teeth have been scratched because they’ve lost their glossy finish, instead they look matte. If you look at the adjacent natural teeth, they still have a gloss to them.
The good news is this type of staining can be fixed. If your dentist thoroughly polishes them, it will remove the scratches and stains, all while bringing the gloss back.
Dental Bonding Staining Two
Composite bonding is made from a solution of inorganic filler particles such as quartz or glass bound together in a plastic matrix. Because of that, it will absorb stains into its actual material. For instance, if you drink a lot of staining beverages, such as coffee or tea, it will penetrate the plastic and become a part of the bonding structure.
The picture above is a good example of this. Notice the two front teeth are much more stained than the surrounding teeth. This is absorbed staining. You can tell that (as opposed to scratch staining) because the teeth still have their shiny gloss. Notice the adjacent teeth, though stained, aren’t as stained as the bonded teeth. This is because your natural teeth are less susceptible to staining than composite bonding.
Unfortunately, this has to be re-done. There is no way to polish this out. Teeth whitening won’t work either. It will only whiten natural tooth structure. If that is the case, I’m going to highly suggest you switch to porcelain veneers on your teeth. Yes, veneers are more expensive initially. However, you are re-doing these every few years. Great porcelain veneers can last upwards of twenty plus years. They’re much more stain-resistant than bonding. In fact, they’re even more stain-resistant than your natural teeth.
Keeping Dental Bonding Stain-Free
1. Start with the right materials. You want to go to a skilled cosmetic dentist. They are more likely to stock microfill composite. This is possible to get polished completely giving it a high gloss and helping it resist stains.
Most general dentists just keep a generic composite which will never completely polish up to the gloss you need.
2. Avoid abrasive materials. I recommend anyone who has cosmetic work use Supersmile toothpaste. It’s specifically designed to chemically remove stains, instead of doing it with abrasives the way most toothpaste works.
3. Avoid staining beverages. If you must drink them, try not to let it sit on your teeth. Swallow immediately.
4. Make sure your hygienist doesn’t use anything like a prophy jet or pumice on your bonded teeth. It will destroy the glazing.
I hope this helps. Seriously consider switching to porcelain veneers.
This blog is brought to you by Philadelphia Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Michael Weiss.