Dental veneers can address a number of aesthetic issues, but are they a permanent solution? Our Dartmouth dentists review the purpose of these restorations, and factors that affect longevity.
What are dental veneers?
Dental veneers are custom-made and thin slivers of porcelain bonded to the front of one or more teeth. This is done using composite resin cement bonded to the front of your teeth. This creates a surface that both looks and feels like natural teeth do.
Veneers can help to change the perceived position, shape or colour of your teeth, leaving you with a more aesthetically pleasing smile.
How long do porcelain dental veneers last?
Porcelain veneers will need to be replaced at some point and, therefore, aren't considered a permanent procedure. However, if you properly care for dental veneers, they can last a significant amount of time, up to 15 years. Depending on some factors, veneers may even last as long as 20 years.
After you've had veneers placed, it will be more important than ever that you maintain an excellent oral hygiene routine. That's because the longevity of your veneers depends on how well you care for them. Patients who maintain good dental hygiene (brushing and flossing daily) at home and who visit the dentist regularly for professional dental exams and cleanings are more likely to see their veneers last longer.
Longevity will also be impacted by whether any oral health problems are corrected. Bite problems, biting hard objects, grinding and clenching can put excessive pressure on your teeth, and therefore your veneers.
Why do porcelain veneers need to be replaced?
While porcelain is quite durable, porcelain veneers can chip, decay or fracture over time. You may also need to replace them if your experience gum recession. This might cause the veneer to fit improperly and will make your veneers more obvious.
Caring for dental veneers
There are a few things you can do to make your veneers long-lasting. As we mentioned above, maintaining your oral health is one of the best ways to make sure that your veneers stay in great condition. This can include:
Practicing excellent oral hygiene
You know the drill - brush twice a day for two minutes each time, and floss at least once per day. Tooth decay is a common cause of failure of dental veneers.
Attending your regular dental appointments
When you attend your regular dental exams, you not only allow your dentist the opportunity to give your teeth an essential deep clean, but they will also take the time to check the condition of your veneers and treat any problems early before they have a chance to fully develop.
Wearing a mouthguard while playing contact sports
Trauma to the mouth (such as a run-in with another person or object) and cause dental veneers to fracture or fall off. This is why it’s important to wear a mouthguard to protect your restorations if you play contact sports.
Avoiding sticky, hard foods or using your teeth as tools
While your dental veneers will stand up to everyday chewing, don’t get into the bait of chewing ice or using them to rip open packages, as this increases the risk of chipping, loosening or breaking them.
Are porcelain veneers right for me?
While dental veneers can be used to address a number of aesthetic concerns, they aren't the right treatment for every dental health issue or every person. In some instances, other dental restorations like browns, bridges, bonding whitening or orthodontics may be more effective and efficient as treatment options.