Bonded fillings become discoloured over time. As well as picking up food stains, they also eventually begin to yellow with age. When this discolouration occurs in posterior teeth such as the molars, it doesn't affect the quality of your smile. However, when discoloured bonding is on the front of an anterior tooth such as a central or lateral incisor, your smile begins to attract attention for the wrong reasons.
Unfortunately, composite bonding cannot be whitened like natural teeth can. The only way of removing the discolouration from the bonding is to remove the bonding itself. However, if you are planning on whitening the rest of your teeth too, you should carry out your dental work in the following order.
Whiten Your Teeth First
Before you have the bonded fillings removed, visit a cosmetic dentist and have your teeth whitened professionally. An in-office teeth whitening will get you more pleasing results. The whitening procedure may even whiten the dental bonding itself; however, the effect will be minimal at best. The main thing is that your dentist now knows what colour the new bonding material needs to be.
Have the Old Bonding Replaced
When bonding becomes discoloured, especially the older type of bonding, the stains run deep. That means that the best thing to do is remove the old bonding and replace it with a new bonded filling. Your dentist will create a shade of bonding material that matches your newly whitened teeth before applying it. This is a simple and cost-effective way of restoring your smile.
However, if you are someone that regularly enjoys a cup of coffee or tea or a glass of wine, bear in mind that it might not be long before your bonded fillings become discoloured again. If you aren't willing to give up coffee, you should consider veneers instead of bonding.
Veneers Do Not Stain
Although, with time, there may be some slight discolouration where the edge of the veneer meets the natural tooth structure, veneers do not stain. Unlike natural teeth, veneers are not porous. This means that your cup of coffee in the mornings won't have any effect on them. Basically, veneers do the same job as bonded fillings, at least on the front teeth, but they are more aesthetically pleasing and can last for years as long as you take care of them.
Though veneers are more expensive, in the long run it could be the best choice, as in the years that your veneers last you might replace bonded fillings multiple times, especially if you smoke and drink coffee. However, if you don't smoke, don't drink coffee, and stay away from foods that stain, replacing your bonded fillings with another filling may be sufficient.