When I was 16, I got veneers on my two front teeth. Now, I am 32 and they have a yellow tint and seem to be going black at the top. What could be causing this? And, is there anything I can do? Help! I really hate how they look.
– Alissa in Boston
If properly taken care of, porcelain veneers can easily last 16 years. They should not be turning yellow. Since you did not indicate that they are porcelain veneers, perhaps they are composite? Composite can discolor easily, and can begin to discolor within a year after placement, depending on the person’s dietary and/or smoking habits. Porcelain veneers can also begin to turn yellow if their glazing is damaged by improper cleaning, for example, if they are cleaned with power polishing sprays such as the Prophy Jet.
The black at the top is probably due to the deteriorating bond at the gumline — there is leakage between the underlying tooth and the veneer. If the dentist isn’t extremely careful to use a proper bonding technique when veneers are placed, the bond will be very vulnerable at the gumline. Then fluid seeps up from the gums during the bonding process. Since this is occurring, it definitely sounds like they should be replaced.
Aside from their poor appearance, the leakage may lead to decay underneath the veneers, so that needs to be cleaned out before it goes too far.