Porcelain veneers can give you the dazzling smile you’ve been dreaming of — but how long do they last and how can you best care for them?
If you want a gleaming white smile and perfectly straight teeth just like your favourite celebrity, you’ll be happy to know that we have the solution for you in the form of porcelain veneers.
Porcelain veneers (also known as dental veneers) are a form of cosmetic dentistry that is becoming increasingly popular and affordable as the years go by and technology advances. Whether you are looking for a teeth whitening solution or you want to cover up cracks, chips and the crookedness in your smile, porcelain veneers can quickly and effectively give you the appearance you have been looking for. Of course, there are no miracle solutions and no permanent fixes. Durable as veneers are, they do have an expiration date — below, we’ll explore what porcelain veneers are, how long they last and what you can do to increase their life.
Porcelain veneers are a cosmetic treatment that involves applying a thin layer of medical-grade ceramic on the tooth surface for an immediate smile makeover. Veneers are individually crafted for each patient and the material is designed to closely resemble natural tooth enamel. Over the years, porcelain veneers have become an incredibly popular dental treatment, but they do require a degree of commitment. The dental procedure usually requires a dentist to remove a layer of tooth enamel before the veneers can be attached with a long-lasting dental cement.
A Quick History of Porcelain Veneers
Porcelain veneers came about nearly a century ago. In the late 1920s, Dr Charles Pincus created veneers as a way to enhance the smiles of actors while on screen, where he temporarily affixed false fronts to their front teeth. Though the results were visually stunning, Pincus lacked the appropriate technology to affix the porcelain. It wasn’t until the 1980s that dentistry advanced techniques enough to allow porcelain veneers to be applied to teeth.
Since the 1980s, dental technology has advanced even further. Porcelain veneers look more like natural teeth than ever before — and they are stronger and more durable. Digital imaging systems also enable dentists to create same-day restorations that allow us to almost completely match veneers to the natural shape and colour of a patient’s remaining teeth.
How Long Do Veneers Last?
Porcelain veneers represent a great investment. With proper care, they should last between 10 and 15 years. Veneers may need occasional cosmetic repair during this time or even full replacement, depending on any wear or damage they experience.
Though they are a durable alternative to natural teeth, veneers are still capable of staining. As such, repeated exposure to coffee, tea or red wine might dull them. Porcelain veneers can also crack or chip just like natural teeth when they are used to bite down on hard foods. You should also be aware that veneers on your front teeth are more susceptive to staining and cracking, so pay particular care.
It’s up to you, as the patient, to lengthen the lifespan of your veneers by protecting them and practising good oral hygiene. Should a veneer break off, carefully store the missing piece and bring it straight to your dentist for repair and reattachment.
Do Dental Veneers Get Cavities?
One question you might have when it comes to the longevity of dental veneers is, do veneers get cavities? Are they susceptible to tooth decay? The good news is that the veneer itself is made of a material that cannot experience disease or decay. Having said that, it is entirely possible to get a cavity in the natural tooth underneath the veneer if it is not treated properly. For this reason, good oral hygiene is crucial. It’s also important that your veneer is installed by an experienced dental professional in the first instance, as improperly installed veneers don’t fit well — given that the protective covering of the tooth enamel has been removed to place the veneer, this leaves your tooth even more prone to decay. Remember, your veneers might be artificial, but they are attached to, and surrounded by, organic gum and bone that need to be properly cared for.
How to Ensure Porcelain Veneers Last
Dental veneers, as with anything in life, will last longer if they are given proper care. Dental health is important, and this doesn’t change with an impressive new set of pearly whites. In fact, you might even find that veneers promote good oral health — now you have this new beautiful smile that you have invested in, you will probably want to be even more fastidious about good oral hygiene. You should ask your dentist about the best way to care for veneers and protect your underlying teeth
Be sure to schedule in regular trips to the dentist and make a conscious effort to live a healthy lifestyle. This will keep the risk of decay and disease to a minimum. It also allows your dentist to stay on top of any threats to your teeth and gums. But remember, though the porcelain itself cannot decay, damage to the underlying tooth structure can disrupt the veneer. It’s also possible that following a cavity repair, your tooth is no longer able to support a veneer — so take every measure to prevent this from happening.
Good oral care will help to minimise issues such as receding gums — veneers end at the gum line, so if your gum tissue recedes, the edge of the porcelain will become visible, meaning all your veneers may need to be replaced or removed.
Here are a few key tips to keep in mind when it comes to the upkeep of your veneers:
- Avoid hard brushing — Scrubbing away at your teeth with a lot of force can do more damage than good.
- Avoid excessive force — Bad habits such as chewing ice, using your teeth as tools and biting your nails can lead to dental erosion, cracks and chips. Strong though porcelain is, it’s not as tough as tooth enamel, so don’t take any risks.
- Avoid stain-producing substances — Porcelain is highly stain resistant, but it is still possible to cause discolouration. The dental cement that holds your veneers in place is particularly subject to staining. To keep your pearly whites in the best condition, consider avoiding foods and drinks that are stain-producing, such as tea, red wine, coffee and soy sauce.
- Practice good oral hygiene — Brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day and use a dentist-recommended mouthwash.
- Schedule regular visits to your dentist — Your dentist will be happy to make recommendations as to how often you should schedule checkups and cleanings.
- Consider oral protection — If you grind your teeth (bruxism) or play a contact sport, it’s wise to protect your teeth with a mouthguard to avoid cracks and chips.
- Avoid extreme temperatures — The cement used to bond your teeth to the veneer will expand and contrast at extreme temperatures, causing breaks and cracks to your porcelain laminate. Do your best to avoid these temperatures where possible.
With enough care and attention, it’s entirely possible your veneers can reach the 20-year mark.
Tooth Doctor Can Help You with Your Smile Makeover
If you’re considering investing in porcelain veneers, our experienced dentists here at Tooth Doctor can help you. Get in touch for a free online dental consultation and we’ll talk you through exactly what to expect, and explore whether you’re a good candidate for this cosmetic dental procedure. We care about the oral health of our patients and we will only recommend veneers if we believe they are a good match for you.
Start your journey to a new smile today. Contact Tooth Doctor now for a chat with our friendly dental team.