Are Porcelain Veneers Right for Smokers?
Smoking is a habit with many harmful consequences. Although not as widely discussed as some of the other effects of smoking, cigarettes can wreak havoc on the teeth. Dental stains are one repercussion of smoking. While teeth whitening can improve the appearance of nicotine-stained teeth, porcelain veneers offer even greater enhancement.
Porcelain veneers dramatically improve the color and overall appearance of the teeth, making them a great option for smokers. Unfortunately, treatment results can be compromised for those who continue to smoke with porcelain veneers. Here, dentists at The Smile Center, in Virginia Beach, VA, discuss how smoking effects porcelain veneers, and why it is a good idea to eliminate this harmful habit.
Porcelain Veneers and Cigarette Stains
Dental stains are often the biggest oral concern for smokers, since they have such a large impact on the smile. When someone smokes, cigarette smoke drags directly across the teeth. The smoke leaves behind tar that sticks to tooth enamel and creates dental stains. Cigarettes also contain nicotine. Although nicotine is colorless, it turns yellow when exposed to the air, which further compromises tooth color.
Porcelain veneers sit over the facial surface of the teeth to conceal stains and discoloration, and improve tooth color. One of the many benefits of porcelain veneers is that they are resistant to stains, so even if a person continues to smoke after porcelain veneers treatment, it is unlikely that the dental restorations will develop discoloration. However, it is important that patients understand that the composite material used to attach dental veneers can stain.
Each porcelain veneer is bonded to the natural teeth with a thin layer of tooth-colored composite. This composite isn’t visible when a person smiles, because it blends in with the porcelain veneers. If someone continues to smoke once veneers are in place, the bonding material will likely turn brown or yellow over time. This discoloration will make the bonding material standout from the veneers, creating an unattractive, discolored border at the edges of the teeth.
Smoking and Gum Disease
Smokers should be particularly concerned about the negative impact that smoking can have on oral health. Smoking increases the risk of a number of dental complications, most notably, gum disease. Smoke narrows the blood vessels, which restricts the flow of oxygen and compromises immune functions so that the body cannot effectively fight off oral bacteria. As oral bacteria builds up around the teeth and gums, an infection is likely to develop, causing our Virginia Beach patients to suffer the effects of gum disease, which may include:
- Red, swollen gums
- Gum bleeding
- Halitosis (persistent bad breath)
- Gum recession
- Tooth loss
Gum disease can be effectively treated when diagnosed in its early stages, but treatment will likely require the removal of porcelain veneers, especially if decay or infection are present in the teeth.
Preserving Your Porcelain Veneers
One of the best things a smoker can do to preserve their porcelain veneers (and protect their oral health) is to give up smoking for good. Other essential habits include:
- Brushing and flossing regularly
- Switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush and minimally abrasive toothpaste
- Scheduling routine dental exams and cleanings at least once every six months
- Refraining from using the teeth as tools or biting on non-food objects
If you would like more information about porcelain veneers treatment, we encourage you to get in touch with the dental team at The Smile Center. Send us a message online at your earliest convenience, or call our Virginia Beach practice at (757) 473-8482.