caring for dental veneers

Dental Veneers: Post Op Instructions

Are you getting cosmetic dental veneers in Raleigh soon? Here are some important post-op instructions to follow whether you’re getting porcelain veneers, no-prep veneers, or composite (chairside) veneer treatments:


The First Few Hours After Dental Veneers Treatment

Your mouth may feel numb for 2-3 hours or so if local anesthetic was used during your appointment. Make sure not to accidentally bite or suck on your lips or cheeks, as it could cause significant soft tissue trauma. It’s also probably best not to eat anything until the anesthetic wears off. If you do feel the need to eat anything, stick to softer foods that require little to no chewing. Such as yogurt, mashed potatoes, or pudding.


Any minor soreness from the injection site can be managed with a warm saltwater rinse and over-the-counter pain reliever. The irritation will be temporary so it’s nothing too much to worry about.



If Your Teeth are Sensitive

It’s normal to feel some mild tooth sensitivity after dental veneer treatment or other large restorations are placed. Since a thin layer of your enamel is gently buffed away before the veneer is bonded to your tooth, the nerve inside of your tooth could be hypersensitive. Fortunately, this sensation tends to naturally improve over time. But you can also help reduce your chances of tooth sensitivity by using sensitive toothpaste leading up to the appointment and for at least a couple of weeks thereafter. Sensitive toothpaste helps seal off any microscopic nerve endings in the porous surfaces of your teeth, desensitizing it overall. It works best after you use it daily for at least two weeks since it takes time for the minerals to accumulate within the tiny pores (tubules) in your enamel.


Any sensitivity you experience after veneer treatment will be similar to what you might experience after getting a crown or large filling. Most people notice that the symptoms tend to go away within days, weeks, or a couple of months. In the meantime, do your best to avoid drinking cold liquids or biting into extremely cold foods. Warm sensitivity usually isn’t a concern so if you do have teeth that are sensitive to heat, be sure to let our Raleigh dentist know as quickly as possible.


What Not to Eat with Dental Veneers

Treat your dental veneers like natural teeth. Don’t use them to bite your nails, open packages, hold things in your mouth, or on something like hairpins. Even though they’re durable, you run the risk of accidentally chipping one of them if you’re biting end-to-end against your lower teeth. Unfortunately, a chipped veneer will need to be completely replaced; it’s not possible to patch it over.


Do not eat hard, crunchy, or sticky foods with your veneers. Those types of textures are best suited for teeth further back in your mouth, so take extreme caution whenever you’re eating them. Or to be safe, just avoid them altogether. While veneers are bonded tightly in place, something extremely sticky like a tough caramel or taffy could potentially dislodge any type of dental work.


Dark foods like tomato sauces, curry, or anything that could stain a white shirt could also cause some discoloration across your smile, regardless of whether you have veneers or not. To keep your smile bright, limit those foods or be sure to rinse and brush thoroughly every time you eat them.


Drinking Dark Liquids if You Have Dental Veneers

Porcelain veneers may not be as porous as tooth enamel, but they aren’t completely resistant to tooth stain. Although the porcelain itself will remain the same color (which is why you can’t whiten veneers with bleaching gel) stain particles can still build up on the outer surface over time. Especially if you’re a heavy coffee or tea drinker.


Any dark liquids—including red wine, soda, tea, etc.—can cause stains on porcelain veneers or crowns. When you do plan to indulge, it’s a great idea to go ahead and rinse your mouth out well with some tap water afterward. The water will serve two purposes: it lessens the amount of stain residue across your smile and it limits acid exposure to the enamel throughout your mouth. As a result, your smile will be brighter and healthier.


When you drink dark liquids like iced tea or soda from time to time, make it a point to have a reusable straw on hand. The straw will help the dark liquid zip straight past your smile zone, minimizing possible discoloration across the front of your veneers.  Even if you’re using a straw, it’s still a good idea to rinse your mouth out after.


Flossing Around Dental Veneers

Will flossing pull off your dental veneers? No. Nor will it pull off other restorations like crowns, implants, or fillings. And just like your other dental work, dental veneers should—and need to be—flossed daily.


Whenever you floss your veneer, wrap the strand around your tooth in a “C” shape, keeping it snug up against the side. Gently glide it up and down the tooth/veneer several times, making sure to clean just under the edge of your gumline as well. Since plaque tends to be heaviest along the gums, this area needs to be flossed thoroughly to prevent any new decay or periodontal infections. If for any reason your gums bleed, continue flossing daily because it is most likely due to gingivitis. Regular home care should reverse these symptoms within two weeks; if it doesn’t, be sure to let us know.


Occasionally someone may notice their floss shredding or breaking around dental work. There are several reasons this could happen, some of which require the attention of our Raleigh dentist. Be sure to let us know if floss is getting caught or breaking in certain areas of your mouth. Never force the floss out; if it’s snug, try to glide it out sideways instead.


You can also clean your veneers with a water flosser if you prefer. Gently trace the margins of your gumlines and sides of each tooth to clean those spaces. Water flossing can replace the need for traditional floss in many situations.


Invest in a Nightguard

Porcelain dental veneers are extremely durable, but they are not invincible. While restorations like dental implants may be stronger than natural teeth, you still need to respect the fragility of tooth enamel and porcelain when it comes to protecting your smile. That’s why we highly recommend our smile makeover clients invest in a nightguard to sleep in every night.


Nightguards buffer the tension between your upper and lower teeth, should you clench or grind them together. Excessive bruxism can wear down both tooth enamel and dental work, causing veneers or other restorations to fracture. By sleeping in a nightguard, any grinding is taken out on the acrylic appliance, rather than your actual smile. It’s easier—and more affordable—to replace a worn-out nightguard than it is to re-do an entire set of porcelain veneers.


Your protective appliance will prolong the results of your cosmetic investment, as well as other restorations throughout your mouth. Nightguards are also helpful for managing TMJ disorder and recurring migraine headaches.



How to Brush Your Dental Veneers


You’ll want to brush your veneers the same way you would your natural teeth. Using an electric toothbrush with soft bristles is highly recommended. Make sure not to brush too forcefully along the margins or gumlines, as it could cause your gums to recede and expose the edges of your veneers.


Always use non-abrasive toothpaste and never baking soda. Be sure to check that your toothpaste contains fluoride.


Bushing your veneers prevents stain and plaque buildup and limits the chances of cavities from developing where the veneer margin meets the tooth behind it. Brush for the full two minutes twice per day, regardless of which type of toothbrush you’re using.



Regular Dental Checkups


It’s best to plan a preventative care appointment at least every six months, especially if you have aesthetic treatments like veneers, crowns, or dental implants.


During your checkup, we’ll evaluate the margins of your veneers to make sure everything is intact, and check the health of the teeth behind them. We’ll also clean away any surface stains and apply fluoride if needed.


Even though veneers aren’t going to develop cavities, buildup will still accumulate on them just like the rest of your teeth. Professional cleanings with our hygienist can help you minimize the risk of gingivitis or periodontal disease, keeping your smile healthier and even more attractive in the years ahead.


When to Contact Our Raleigh Dentist


If for any reason you notice staining or rough edges along the margins of your veneers, be sure to let our Raleigh cosmetic dentists know. Or if something doesn’t feel quite right—even if the veneer isn’t actually loose—we need to evaluate your tooth. It’s normal for teeth to occasionally shift throughout our lifespan, but dental veneers should not ever become displaced.


Call Raleigh Dental Arts today to request your next preventative care appointment.

Tarun Agarwal

Dr. Tarun Agarwal, DDS is considered one of the top dentists in the country. He is a recognized speaker, author, and dental leader. He has been featured on CBS, NBC, ABC, FOX, and News 14 Carolina. Dr. Agarwal has been awarded '40 under 40' Business Leaders by the Triangle Business Journal. He is regularly invited to teach other dentists around the world and recently built a training center within the practice dedicated to sharing his expertise. Most importantly he is a loving husband and dedicated father of three wonderful children. His biggest accolade was being voted 'Best Dad in the World' by 2 of his 3 kids.