Many people will eventually have a dental restoration placed at some point during their lifetime. Some restorations are placed for restorative purposes, others for cosmetic purposes, and some for both. Nowadays, dental restorations are made to blend in with the surrounding teeth so that they look as natural as possible. However as time goes on, certain restorations may start to stand out slightly. This is because of the fact that their color may change over time due to stains or other factors.
Not all dental restorations will stain, however certain dental materials are more likely to stain than others and certain oral health habits can increase the risk of stains. When it comes to cosmetic dentistry, two commonly used dental materials are composite resin and porcelain. To help prevent your dental restoration from staining, here are some things you should know about common dental materials, as well as some tips for preventing stains:
Composite resin starts off as a viscous substance that can be shaped and then hardened in place to fabricate direct restorations. It can also be customized to match the color of the surrounding teeth. Composite resin is generally used to fill small to medium areas of decay, repair minor chips or cracks, or to fabricate composite veneers.
Composite resin can stain in two different ways. The first is from colored pigments found in foods and beverages. Pigments found in beverages like red wine and coffee have been known to cause the greatest degree of discoloration over time. It is important to note that these pigments will also stain your tooth enamel as well. The second way composite resin can stain is when the border between the restoration and your natural tooth becomes rougher over time and starts to collect bacteria and food particles, which can cause staining. In fact, staining around the border of your composite filling often means it is time to have the filling checked by your dentist.
Tips to Prevent Stains:
- Limit your consumption of highly pigmented foods and beverages
- Rinse your mouth with water after consuming red wine, coffee, or other pigmented beverages
- Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day
- Stay caught up with dental cleanings
Porcelain is another common dental material used to fabricate cosmetic dental restorations. Unlike composite resin restorations, porcelain restorations are fabricated outside of the mouth from a block of porcelain and are then cemented in place. Porcelain can be used to fabricate crowns, bridges, inlays, onlays, and veneers.
Porcelain is generally used for larger dental restorations because of its strength. It is also valued for its stain-resistant properties. Unlike composite resin, porcelain does not stain even when exposed to highly pigmented foods and beverages. With that being said, however, it is important to note that porcelain does not stain only as long as the outer glaze remains intact. If for any reason this outer glaze becomes damaged, then even porcelain can stain.
Tips to Prevent Stains:
- Avoid highly abrasive toothpastes that can wear away the outer glaze (ask your dentist about an appropriate toothpaste)
- Limit your consumption of acidic foods and beverages since these can also wear away the outer glaze
- Avoid smoking
- Do not apply too much pressure while brushing your teeth and/or restorations
- Avoid using your teeth as tools, which can damage the porcelain
Dr. Sadati possesses extensive experience in all aspects of advanced restorative dentistry, with an emphasis in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He has attained Accredited Fellow status in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), the most rigorous, demanding credentialing process in the world. He is the only AACD Accredited Fellow in South Florida.