Dental veneers can address a number of aesthetic issues, but are they a permanent solution? Our Toronto dentists review the purpose of these restorations and the factors that affect longevity.
What are dental veneers?
Dental veneers are thin, custom-made slivers of tooth-coloured porcelain that your dentist bonds to the front of your teeth. They are bonded to your teeth with composite resin cement, creating a surface that looks and feels much 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 likely need to be replaced at some point and are therefore not considered a permanent procedure. However, if properly cared for, porcelain veneers can last a significant length of time – usually about 15 years on average. Depending on some key factors, they can last much longer (20 years or more).
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 oral 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?
Though porcelain is very durable, porcelain veneers can chip, fracture, decay or debond over time. You may also need to replace them if you experience gum recession, as this may cause the veneer to not fit correctly anymore.
Caring for dental veneers
There are a few things you can do to make your veneers last as long as possible. As mentioned, continuing excellent oral health care practices is the best way to ensure your veneers stay in great condition. This can include:
Wearing a mouthguard while playing contact sports
Trauma to the mouth (such as a run-in with another person or object) can 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.
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.
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?
Though dental veneers can be used to address several aesthetic concerns, they are not the right treatment for every dental health issue - or every person. In some cases, other restorations such as dental crowns, dental bonding, teeth whitening or orthodontics may be more effective treatment options.