As one of the longest lasting dental materials, porcelain can keep your smile healthy, straight, and bright for many years. But even when porcelain veneers and similar restorations are well taken care of, they rarely last forever. Numerous factors can cause veneers to become worn, damaged, or tarnished, resulting in the need for replacement.
At our Troy cosmetic dentistry office, we want to help you keep your smile impeccable for as long as possible. Therefore, we present the following information on when your veneers should be replaced, as well as what you can expect from a replacement procedure.
When Should Porcelain Veneers Be Replaced?
With the right care and protection, porcelain veneers typically last up to 15 years or longer. Although porcelain is a durable material, relatively resistant to stains and erosion, years of use will eventually take their toll on any restoration. Diet, hygiene, and lifestyle can also play a role in reducing the lifespan of veneers, resulting in various possible problems. Such factors include:
- Wear and tear: Porcelain veneers are regularly able to withstand pressure from chewing and biting, but, just like regular teeth, it’s possible for them to accrue small chips and erosion over time.
- Large chips or breakage: When too much stress is exerted upon a veneer or it is bent in an unnatural way, it can result in large chips or cracks. Although some dentists are able to repair a broken veneer, replacing it is both more reliable and effective.
- Discoloration: Porcelain does not stain as easily as other tooth-colored restorations or even natural teeth. Nevertheless, it is still possible for veneers to become gradually discolored from certain foods, drinks, or tobacco use. And unlike enamel, porcelain does not benefit from a teeth whitening procedure.
- Decay: Although veneers cannot suffer from disease or decay, it is still entirely possible for the underlying tooth to become infected. In the event a veneered tooth has a cavity or requires similar restorative treatment, the veneer must be removed (and later replaced) for treatment to ensue.
- Personal dissatisfaction: In the event you are dissatisfied with the way your veneers look, we will be happy to improve upon a previous procedure. Dr. Keith Kelley has the skill and experience necessary to produce consistently beautiful results. Don’t settle for a sub-par smile when veneers are meant to be a cosmetic enhancement.
Protecting Your Veneers from Damage
In order to extend the life of your veneers, there are a few things you can do to protect them from unnecessary damage. First, hygiene is of the utmost importance. Be sure to brush and floss diligently, as tooth decay can still easily form underneath a veneer. Moreover, as time goes on, dental cement can begin to corrode near the edges of a veneer, creating a space for bacteria to hide and grow.
Patients should also be aware of their oral habits. Chipped teeth and veneers can be caused by chewing on non-edible objects such as a fingernails or pen caps. Likewise, teeth should not be used as tools or to open plastic containers.
Finally, consider the benefits of a mouth guard if you are involved with contact sports or suffer from habitual teeth grinding. Physical trauma is an unfortunate way to damage a smile, but can be easily avoidable through the right precautions. Mouth guards or occlusal splints are also effective in countering teeth grinding, called bruxism, which can result in the erosion of enamel and porcelain restorations.
How Will Porcelain Veneers Be Replaced?
When it’s time to replace your veneers, the process is made simple through our streamlined in-office technology:
- First, your existing veneers will be removed in a process similar to the original removal of the tooth’s surface enamel. Because your new veneers will occupy the same space, no additional enamel will have to be removed.
- Digital impressions will be taken of your teeth and sent to our CEREC® milling machine. The data will be used to create a 3-D model of your teeth and the new veneers to complement them.
- Traditionally, patients must wait days or weeks for their veneers to be crafted in a separate lab. Thanks to CEREC®, you can receive your veneers in the same visit, within an hour.
- When your new veneers are ready, they will be tested for a proper fit. Any necessary changes can be implemented directly and quickly. The veneers will then be permanently bonded to your teeth.
Keep a Brilliant Smile
Regular dental visits are important to maintaining your dental health and checking the condition of existing restorations. Don’t let your smile suffer from a lack of professional care: contact our office to schedule an exam or consult Dr. Kelley regarding your veneers.