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How do you clean your real teeth with veneers?

Veneers are thin, custom-made shells made of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth. They can improve the color, shape, size, and overall appearance of teeth. While veneers are durable, it’s still important to properly care for them and the natural tooth underneath to maintain their appearance and prevent damage. Proper cleaning and oral hygiene is key when you have veneers.

What are veneers?

Veneers are ultra-thin shells, usually made of ceramic or composite resin, that are bonded to the front of teeth. Porcelain veneers are one of the most popular types because they resemble natural enamel. Veneers are an excellent way to cover stained, chipped, misshapen, or crooked teeth. They give you the smile transformation you want without removing significant tooth structure.

Benefits of dental veneers

Some benefits of veneers include:

– Cosmetic improvement of smile – Veneers can whiten, straighten, and reshape your teeth for a perfect smile. They mask flaws and mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth.

– Stain resistance – The porcelain and composite materials are stain resistant and do not absorb stains like natural teeth.

– Durability – Veneers are custom-made to precisely fit your teeth and last 10-15 years or longer with proper care.

– Minimal tooth reduction – Unlike crowns, veneers require removal of only 0.5-0.7mm of outer enamel. They preserve more natural tooth.

– Quick treatment time – The veneer procedure usually takes 2-3 visits and can often be done without anesthesia.

How are veneers placed?

Getting veneers involves three main steps:

1. Preparation – The tooth is prepared by removing a thin layer of enamel (usually 0.5mm) to allow room for the veneer. A dental impression is taken.

2. Custom fabrication – The impression is sent to a dental lab where the veneer is expertly fabricated to precisely fit your tooth. This may take 1-2 weeks.

3. Bonding – The veneer is permanently bonded to the tooth with a strong, light-cured resin cement. It seamlessly covers the front surface.

Cleaning and caring for your veneers

Although veneers are stain-resistant, you still need to practice good oral hygiene to prevent damage and preserve their appearance. Here are some tips:

Brush and floss daily

– Brush teeth at least twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
– Gently brush the veneer surfaces
– Carefully floss at least once daily to clean between teeth
– Use a non-abrasive floss that will not damage veneers

Be gentle

– Avoid clenching or grinding teeth which can crack veneers
– Use a mouthguard if you grind teeth at night
– Avoid biting nails or opening bottles with teeth
– Soft foods are gentler on veneers

Watch what you eat and drink

– Avoid stain-causing foods and drinks like coffee, tea, red wine, berries, tomato sauce
– Drink plenty of water to help rinse away staining foods/drinks
– Limit soda and acidic drinks as the acid can erode veneer glaze

See your dentist

– Have regular dental checkups and cleanings
– Report any chipping or damage immediately
– Ask your dentist about sealants to protect veneer edges
– Repairs can often be made to preserve veneers

Use recommended oral hygiene products

– Use non-abrasive, whitening toothpaste to polish veneers
– Try a powered toothbrush with soft brush head and be gentle
– Use non-abrasive floss that will not scratch veneers
– Avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes that can stain veneers

Common questions about cleaning veneers

Can you use whitening toothpaste with veneers?

Yes, you can use whitening toothpaste, but avoid highly abrasive ones that can damage the veneer surface. Look for low-abrasion whitening toothpastes. These gently polish away stains without scratching.

Is it okay to use mouthwash with veneers?

Alcohol-free, non-abrasive mouthwashes are fine and can help keep your mouth clean. Avoid mouthwashes with alcohol that could stain or dull veneers. Also avoid acidic, strong antiseptic formulas.

How can you whiten veneers?

While veneers cannot whiten further once placed, the natural teeth beneath them and surrounding them can become stained. Professional whitening with custom trays and bleach solution is safe for people with veneers. Over-the-counter whitening strips should be used cautiously.

Do you need a special toothbrush for veneers?

A soft-bristle toothbrush is recommended to prevent damaging veneer surfaces while gently removing plaque. Electric toothbrushes with soft brushes can also safely clean veneers. Avoid stiff, hard brushes.

Can you use baking soda to clean veneers?

Baking soda is too abrasive for veneer surfaces. While it can effectively remove some stains on natural teeth, it can also scuff, pit, and scratch veneers over time, damaging the smooth glossy finish.

Caring for veneers long-term

With excellent oral hygiene and care, dental veneers can last for over a decade, often 15 years or longer. Here are some tips for prolonging the life of your veneers:

Be gentle

Avoid biting nails, chewing ice, popcorn kernels, hard candy, and other hard objects. Don’t use teeth to open packages. These habits can crack or chip veneers.

Protect teeth

Wear a mouthguard if you grind your teeth or play sports to shield veneers from fracture.

See your dentist

Have dental visits every 6 months to inspect veneers and address any problems early. Small chips can often be repaired.

Practice good oral hygiene

Brush and floss gently twice a day. This prevents decay and staining under or around veneers.

Avoid staining foods/drinks

Frequent coffee, tea, wine, berries, and tomato sauce can stain veneer edges or nearby teeth over time.

Don’t smoke

Smoking stains teeth and veneers and increases tartar buildup.

Watch diet

Avoid excessive sodas, citrus, and acidic foods/drinks which can erode veneer glaze.

When to replace veneers

With proper care, veneers can last 10-15 years or longer. However, they may need replacement if:

– Veneers become excessively stained or discolored
– Veneers become chipped or fractured
– Veneers have gaps or appear worn
– Natural teeth shift or veneers become loose
– You want to change your smile with new veneers

Talk to your dentist about options to repair or replace veneers if needed. With dental advances, replacement veneers may be able to be placed over existing veneers with minimal tooth reduction.

Cleaning veneers: Do’s and Don’ts

Do Don’t
Brush gently twice daily with soft brush Use stiff, hard bristle brushes
Floss once daily Use abrasive dental floss
Use non-abrasive toothpaste Use whitening pastes with abrasives
Have regular dental cleanings Use baking soda or hydrogen peroxide
Protect teeth from grinding/impact Bite nails, chew pens, etc.


Caring for veneers involves dedication to gentle, thorough oral hygiene and avoiding damage from impact, grinding, and staining. With proper maintenance and care, dental veneers can look beautiful and natural for over a decade. Be sure to follow your dentist’s recommendations for cleaning veneers to get the longest lasting results from your smile investment. Using non-abrasive toothpastes and soft brushes, avoiding staining foods/drinks, wearing mouth protection at night, and seeing your dentist regularly will help preserve your veneers.