I just had six new porcelain veneers placed on my upper teeth, from eye tooth to eye tooth. Love love love my new smile! There’s only one drawback: they are so sensitive. Just about anything sets them off, but especially cold things. I know it’s only been five days since I had them placed, but it seems like the sensitivity should have gone away by now. Why are they so sore, and is there anything I can do about it?
Hey Kennedy, great question. First of all, congrats on your new smile! It’s an exciting time, to be sure. Let’s see if we can get to the bottom of this.
Why are new porcelain veneers sometimes sensitive?
There are a number of possible causes that your porcelain veneers can be sensitive, beginning with the initial appointment. When your teeth were prepared, a very small amount of your natural tooth structure was removed, about a half millimeter. The idea is to remove enough enamel to accommodate the veneer, but not so much as to compromise the integrity of the tooth. Occasionally, this removal thins the enamel enough that some sensitivity occurs. This is more common with patients who already had sensitive teeth.
The Bonding Process
When it comes time to place your new veneers permanently, your dentist will bond them directly to your tooth. This involves first acid-etching the enamel, which opens the tiny dentinal tubules and prepares the surface for the bonding agent. This can sometimes cause you some temporary sensitivity. The bonding agents may also occasionally cause some people temporary sensitivity as well.
Whenever a tooth is treated, especially if any type of preparation is involved such as removing decay, reduction of tooth structure for a crown or veneer, or bonding/cementing certain materials, sensitivity following the appointment can result. This is temporary and the tooth will calm down over time.
After any new crowns, bridges, or veneers are permanently placed, there is always an adjustment period. At this appointment, your bite will be adjusted and the fit fine-tuned and customized for you. There may be a “high spot”, or a small area where the teeth are out of alignment and the occlusion needs to be adjusted. Even if it’s a very small amount, it can cause pronounced discomfort. It’s a simple matter to fix by adjustment, and the tooth will calm down over the following few days. This is a bit different from the sensitivity you are describing, but it is worth mentioning to your dentist if this doesn’t resolve soon.
Typically, porcelain veneers should fit directly against your teeth and snug up to the tooth’s natural gum line. There should be no gaps between the veneer and your gums, or the veneer and the back of your tooth. These areas should feel smooth and should fit with integrity. If any areas persist that are not protected by the veneer or by enamel, sensitivity will result. This can also result in bacteria and other foods getting trapped, so it will be important the dentist resolve this in order to protect you from decay.
How Long Should I Wait?
Typically, we assure patients that their teeth should calm down within a week or so, give or take. You are not quite a week out from your appointment; these teeth may just need a bit more time to adjust. If it does not subside, or if it worsens, call for an appointment right away. In the meantime, using a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth and a mouthwash with fluoride (alcohol-free) should help alleviate symptoms.
This blog is brought to you by Marietta Dentist Dr. Cristi Cheek.