Dental veneers can be used to address a number of aesthetic issues in your smile, but are they a permanent solution to these problems? Here, our Saskatoon dentists review the purpose of these restorations as well as the factors that may affect their longevity.
What are dental veneers?
Dental veneers are thin, custom-made slivers of tooth-coloured porcelain that are bonded to the fronts of your teeth by your dentist. They are bonded using a composite resin cement in order to create a surface that both looks and feels quite similar to that of a natural tooth.
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 for about 15 years on average. Depending on some key factors, they can last much longer (20 years or more).
After your veneers have been placed, it will become more important than ever that you maintain a good oral hygiene routine. This is because the longevity of your veneers depends on how well you care for them. For patients who maintain good oral hygiene and home and who visit the dentist routinely for checkups and cleanings, veneers will be likely to last longer than for those people that don't do these things.
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 handful of things that you can do to make your veneers last for as long as possible. As mentioned previously, maintaining your oral hygiene routine is the best way to help make sure that your veneers remain in good condition. These practices can include:
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.
Attending your regular dental appointments
When attending your routine dental exam, you will not only give your dentist the chance to give your teeth a deep clean and help maintain your oral health, you will also give your dentist the opportunity to check the condition of your veneers and treat any problems early before they have a chance to develop into more serious issues.
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.