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Gilberto Tostado E, DDS, MS, FICD, FPFA

Calle 2 y 3, Av 6 #255, Centro,
84200 Agua Prieta, Son., Mexico
Family Dental

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Do I Have to Quit Smoking with Porcelain Veneers?

I went to see my dentist because I was interested in getting a smile makeover. He suggested I get porcelain veneers but told me that I will want to quit smoking so I don’t stain them. I felt like someone had stuck a pin in the balloon that carried my dream. I was a little confused as well because a friend of mine has porcelain veneers and she smokes. Do you know if there are different brands that work with smoking?


Dear Carolyn,

Porcelain veneers

I am glad that you wrote. I can understand your confusion. Why is it your friend can smoke with porcelain veneers but not you? The truth is, you can. I am not sure why your dentist said that. In fact, porcelain veneers are more stain resistant than your natural teeth. One thing that smoking will do is stain the edges where the bond meets the tooth. There is a way for your dentist to polish those up as a part of regular maintenance.

I wonder if your dentist is not very comfortable doing porcelain veneers. He may have used the smoking thing as a way to discourage you from a procedure that is not in his wheelhouse. I would look for a different dentist to do you smile makeover. It is quite common for a person to have a dentist for general dental work and a dentist for cosmetic work. You will have better results from someone who does a lot of cosmetic work. In fact, I would ask to see some before and after pictures of work they’ve done so you can make sure they get decent results.

A step you can take is to brush your teeth with Supersmile Toothpaste. Unlike other whitening toothpastes that damage your teeth with abrasives (something you definitely do not want to do with your smile makeover), it uses a protein pelicle to safely remove surface stains from your dental work.

I hope this helps.
This blog is brought to you by Douglas, AZ Dentist Dr. Gilberto Tostado.


Cheap cosmetic dentistry: are composite veneers worth it?

I chipped one of my upper front teeth last year and my dentist patched it up with some composite bonding. It wasn’t perfect, but it did the job. Lately, however, that tooth has started to look stained and darker than the teeth next to it. I went back to my dentist to see if he could fix the bonded tooth. He said that since all of my upper front teeth are discolored he recommends putting composite veneers on them. He said it would only be about $3,000 to get all eight upper teeth done. I’d like to save money on my treatment if I can, but that sounds a lot cheaper than what I’ve heard veneers normally cost.

Now I’m a little suspicious. Are these composite veneers really a good idea, or is there a reason they cost so much less than other veneers?

– Jim from Arizona

A photograph of a dental veneer showing how thin porcelain veneers are.

We recommend you trust your intuition on this one, Jim.

Some people opt for composite veneers because they are more affordable than traditional porcelain veneers. The lower price makes it easier to improve the appearance of multiple teeth at once.

But you have two good reasons to think twice about getting composite veneers, especially ones that are priced so cheaply:

Reason #1: It takes great skill to make composite veneers that look natural.

While porcelain veneers are crafted outside the mouth in a dental lab and then later bonded to the teeth, composite veneers are built up directly on the surface of the teeth. A cosmetic dentist must be highly skilled in layering composite material so that the outcome is as lifelike as possible. But if your current dentist is charging a low rate for composite veneers, then this could indicate that he is not confident in his ability to deliver the best results. Naturally, you might doubt whether he can do a high quality job on your teeth.

Reason #2: Composite veneers do not last as long as porcelain veneers.

Composite dental material, while durable, is more susceptible to stain and discoloration than porcelain. New composite veneers can look very nice for a few years after they are placed, provided the dentist does a good job. If you avoid smoking and dark-colored foods and brush and floss religiously, then you can minimize stain accumulation on composite veneers. But it is only a matter of time before composite veneers become so discolored that you are obligated to replace them again.

Choosing Between Composite and Porcelain Veneers

At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself:

Is it worth it to save money on your dental veneers by choosing composite even if it means the results may not turn out great?

Are the savings truly worth it when you consider the fact that your composite veneers will need to be replaced every two to three years?

Many patients choose porcelain veneers because they deliver more predictable, lifelike, and long-lasting results and because they are practically immune to stain. Porcelain veneers could last you 20 years or even longer.

Do a little more research before making your decision. Ask your current dentist about how many sets of veneers he has placed so far and ask to see some before-and-after photos of patients he has treated. If you’re still interested in composite veneers and trust your dentist’s skill, then you can safely get them.

But if you want a more lasting solution, you’d be better off seeing a dentist who has a track record of creating beautiful smiles with porcelain veneers.

This post has been published on behalf of Dr. Gilberto Tostado of Corei Dental, a dentist near Douglas, AZ.