Porcelain veneers are one of the most versatile and effective options for creating a brand new smile. Patients are able to mask most types of flaws beneath a thin layer of tooth-colored porcelain, improving the aesthetics of their teeth in the process. Like any restoration, though, proper care is needed to avoid future damage and decay.
If you have received veneers at our Troy office or elsewhere, take a moment to learn the various dangers that threaten the lifespan of your porcelain restorations. With a little forethought, you can ensure that your smile continues to look its best for many years to come.
The Projected Lifespan of Porcelain Veneers
The lifespan of any dental restoration can only be roughly estimated based on the material used. For instance, composite resin is generally estimated to last about seven to 10 years, whereas porcelain and amalgam often last between 13 and 15 years. However, the actual duration is largely influenced by each patient’s lifestyle and dental habits. Patients who are careless with their teeth and health should not expect their restorations to last very long, whereas conscientious patients can easily see their porcelain veneers last a full 15 years or longer.
Avoiding Replacement from Decay
Even though tooth decay cannot infect porcelain, decay is still a primary risk factor for the replacement of veneers. This is because underlying tooth tissue can still become infected through lack of hygiene or proper diet, resulting in the need for restorative dentistry. In order to perform such dentistry, any attached restorations such as veneers must be removed. Therefore, the best way to avoid premature replacement of veneers is to maintain positive dental hygiene habits.
Fortunately, veneers do not require any different brushing or flossing habits than normal teeth. The same hygienic rules apply, albeit with even more care and vigilance:
- Brush two to three times daily with fluoridated toothpaste
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid abrasion
- Replace the toothbrush every three to four months, or once the bristles begin to fray
- Floss once per day
- Drink water with meals to wash away food particles
- Avoid sugary drinks and snacks whenever possible
Avoiding Damage to Veneers
It is likely that, eventually, veneers will have to be replaced due to gradual wear and tear over the years. Still, avoiding immediately visible damage is a great way to prolong their full appearance and prevent early replacement. Refer to the below sources of damage and how they can best be prevented:
- Injury and trauma: Sudden impact to the head or body can cause teeth to slam into each other, resulting in chips and cracks. This risk is particularly elevated for those involved with contact sports or similarly dangerous physical activity. The best way to keep your smile safe from injury is a mouthguard, and a professionally crafted mouthguard offers the best comfort and protection. Speak with your dentist about a customized mouthguard if you plan on pursuing any physical activities that pose an elevated risk of injury.
- Bruxism: Patients who suffer from bruxism have a habit of clenching or grinding their teeth as they sleep. Milder cases may result in the gradual erosion of enamel and restorations, while more severe cases can cause larger, more immediately noticeable chips. If you have bruxism, consider the use of a special mouthguard (sometimes called a night guard) to wear while you sleep, especially if you also have porcelain veneers installed.
- Improper use: Remember that your teeth are strictly meant for eating. The use of teeth to grip, turn, or chew on inedible objects will increase the chance of them chipping. This is especially true of porcelain veneers, which can be brittle when bent or stressed in an unintended way. Avoid using your teeth as tools or to chew on hard objects, including habitual nail biting.
Learn More about Porcelain Veneers
Porcelain veneers can be a great investment for your smile, but only if you take the right steps to protect them. Contact our office if you have a question regarding your current veneers or if you’re interested in learning more about any of our cosmetic dentistry options.