I paid a lot of money to have four porcelain veneers done on my top teeth. I have loved the way they look and been really happy so far. But it seems like since the last time I was in getting my teeth cleaned, I am noticing some staining on one of them. Let’s see if I can describe it. It looks like a little grayish discoloration on the top portion near one of the margins. I don’t know how it could have become damaged? But I was wondering if there would be any link to the cleaning I had? I have been seeing (what I thought to be) a very reputable cosmetic dentist in my area. I assumed all his hygiene staff would know the proper protocols for cleaning veneers. Maybe I was mistaken? Or maybe it is another issue entirely? Do you know if the stain can be removed at this point?

– Vern in New Jersey


Unfortunately you didn’t post a photograph. That would have explained a lot. Another question would be how old the porcelain veneers are and how much time has passed from the cleaning you are mentioning? But you did a good job of explaining the stained porcelain veneer.

Generally speaking, porcelain veneers are highly stain resistant. So much so, they are actually more stain-resistant than your natural teeth. The coloration usually stays quite uniform. So when there is staining that occurs, it usually is from one of two issues.

1. The protective surface of the veneer may have been compromised or damaged. The glaze may have been broken during the cleaning. In some cases this is the result of power polishing or acidic cleaning agents.

2. There is some kind of bacteria or debris that has made it’s way under the porcelain veneer.

Let’s assume the more likely of the two scenarios. Maybe the veneers have been damaged because they are over 10-15 years old. Let’s also assume that the staining is occurring right at the edge of the veneer. The discoloration is less than two millimeters. Again, we are just making assumptions so that we can address this possibility.

If this scenario is correct in your case, leakage is likely the culprit. This could be due to the edge or margin of the porcelain veneer that has been broken down. So something is getting between the veneer and the natural tooth. This situation is referred to as microleakage. At the beginning of this phenomena it will start as a stain. If it is not taken care of, it can turn into decay.

If these assumptions are correct, then the stain probably comes from leakage – the margin of the porcelain veneer has broken down and microscopic particles are getting between the veneer and the tooth. It is called microleakage, and it starts being just a stain, but if not addressed and repaired, it can grow into decay.

An experienced cosmetic dentist would polish the stain away. The porcelain veneer would need to be removed. Then, it would need to be replaced. If all of these assumptions are accurate, then the staining would not be a result of the recent cleaning.

Hopefully, this gives you an idea as to what is happening with your porcelain veneer.

This post is sponsored by Atlanta cosmetic dentist Flax Dental.