Dental veneers can be used to correct a variety of cosmetic issues, but are they a long-term solution? Our Victoria dentists discuss the purpose and factors affecting the longevity of these restorations.
What are dental veneers?
Dental veneers are extremely thin, custom-made slivers of tooth-coloured porcelain that are bonded to the front of your teeth by your dentist. They are bonded to your teeth with composite resin cement, resulting in a surface that looks and feels natural.
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 almost certainly need to be replaced at some point and thus are not considered permanent. However, if properly maintained, porcelain veneers can last an extended period – approximately 15 years on average. They can last significantly longer (20 years or more), depending on a few critical factors.
Following veneer placement, it will be even more critical to maintain an excellent oral hygiene routine. This is because the longevity of your veneers is directly related to how well you maintain them. Patients who practise good oral hygiene at home (brushing and flossing daily) and visit the dentist for professional dental exams and cleanings regularly are more likely to have their veneers last longer.
Longevity will also be affected by the resolution of any oral health problems. Bite problems, biting on hard objects, grinding, and clenching can all put an abnormal amount of pressure on your teeth, and thus on your veneers.
Why do porcelain veneers need to be replaced?
While porcelain is extremely durable, over time, porcelain veneers may chip, fracture, decay, or debond. Additionally, you may need to replace them if you experience gum recession, as this may result in the veneer no longer fitting properly.
Caring for dental veneers
There are a few things you can do to extend the life of your veneers. As previously stated, the best way to ensure your veneers remain in excellent condition is to maintain excellent oral health care practices. This may include the following:
Wearing a mouthguard while playing contact sports
Trauma to the mouth (such as a run-in with another person or object) can fracture or dislodge dental veneers. This is why, if you participate in contact sports, it is critical to wear a mouthguard to protect your restorations.
Avoiding sticky, hard foods or using your teeth as tools
While your dental veneers will withstand normal chewing, avoid chewing ice or using them to rip open packages to avoid chipping, loosening, or breaking them.
Attending your regular dental appointments
When you schedule routine dental exams, you not only give your dentist time for a thorough cleaning of your teeth but also allow them to check the condition of your veneers and address any issues early on before they have a chance to fully develop.
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.
Are porcelain veneers right for me?
While dental veneers can address a variety of aesthetic concerns, they are not appropriate for every dental health concern - or everyone. Occasionally, alternative restorations such as dental crowns, dental bonding, teeth whitening, or orthodontics may be more effective.