Dental veneers are the most sought-after treatment here at The Dental Room for those seeking to achieve a perfectly natural-looking smile. But are they permanent, and will they last forever?
Principal Dentist and Founder of The Dental Room, Dr Shawn Rama, says: “Dental veneers, in the most part, are permanent. But they won’t last forever. It’s not a set-and-forget procedure, especially for resin veneers. Porcelain veneers typically last 10-20 years if well maintained but can last even longer with proper care. Composite resin veneers tend to have a much shorter lifespan of anywhere between three to seven years.
Dental veneers are very durable and long-lasting; however, they will usually need to be replaced at some point due to wear and tear, damages, or changes in your teeth and gums – so it’s necessary to look out for telltale signs that it’s time to replace them”, Dr Shawn continued.
You’ll need to care for your dental veneers to prolong their life. Dr Shawn says: “Porcelain veneers can be a long-lasting solution to improve your smile. But after you’re fitted with veneers, it’s your job to look after them with daily brushing and flossing, plus regular check-up and clean with your dentist every six months.”
It’s a common misconception that your teeth are shielded from cavities once you have had veneers. The fact is, you can still develop gum disease around the roots of your veneered teeth and develop tooth decay at the interface between the veneers and teeth. So now is not the time to retire your electric toothbrush! Your oral hygiene must be meticulous, and you visit your dentist at least twice a year.
Porcelain veneers are very strong, and one can eat almost all food without issues; however, If you’re the type of person who uses your teeth to open just about anything, listen up! Opening stubborn packages with your gnashers, biting your fingernails or ice (which many of us are guilty of): these are all culprits that can crack teeth with and without veneers.
One of the biggest reasons for the failure of porcelain veneers is chipping or breaking due to clenching/grinding habits. Therefore, our clients are strongly advised to wear a simple night splint on their upper teeth to protect them from harmful movement while sleeping. It also has the added benefit of maintaining the alignment of the teeth over time.
Discolouration around the edges
Our porcelain veneers are sealed and made with fine ceramics so they do not discolour. However, a micro gap at the interface between the veneer and tooth is initially filled with cement. Over the years, the cement can wear away and become discoloured or stained due to exposure to foods, alcohol, smoking, or poor oral hygiene. Dr Shawn says, ‘It is not too dissimilar to the tile grout in your bathroom – over time, the porcelain tile itself tends to remain the same colour, but the grout discolours without proper cleaning.’
Often, veneers are placed to correct minor alignment issues with the original teeth and give the perception of straight teeth. However, the teeth may continue to move over time, and your veneers would also move along with your teeth and create a misalignment. If this happens, you may need to replace your veneers to maintain alignment and function. Wearing a retainer or night guard can help prevent this.
At our clinic, the ends of the veneers are usually tucked about 0.2-0.5mm under the gum margins to hide the veneering interface. However, as you age, your gums may start to recede, exposing the edges of your veneers. And over time, this margin can stain and become noticeable. In addition, gum disease or poor oral hygiene can cause gums to pull back. Gum recession can alter the appearance of your smile and may require replacing your veneers to correct the issue.
Chipping or cracking
Veneers are durable materials such as porcelain or resin; however, they can still chip or crack if you bite down on hard objects, experience mouth trauma, or grind your teeth. Thankfully, this is something we see little of at our clinic, as our veneers are made and designed using materials that withstand higher compressive and tensile stresses. In addition, most of our clients who grind their teeth wear a night guard. So replacements due to chipping and breaking are rare. However, if your veneers are chipped or cracked, they may need to be replaced to restore their appearance and function – and in most cases, the entire veneer will need to be replaced.
The underlying tooth is decayed
Veneers are glued onto the front and sides of the teeth. The interface between them is designed to fit tightly to the underlying tooth to block out bacteria that might cause decay. However, they can sometimes become loose, decaying the supporting tooth. If this happens, the veneer may start to detach. In this case, your dentist can remove the veneer to treat the decay before installing a replacement.
Wear and tear
The mouth is a living, dynamic environment. Like anything, they might show signs of wear and tear, including looking faded and old. This is usually due to the maturation of the underlying cement and would usually mean a freshen-up is required.
Porcelain veneers are a great way to improve the appearance of your teeth and smile. However, remember they should be cared for properly to ensure the best longevity possible. Despite the best care, dental veneers may need to be replaced over time due to wear and tear, changes in your teeth or gums, or damage to your teeth. If you notice these signs, consult your cosmetic dentist, who can tell you if it’s time to change your dental veneers. And once those new dental veneers are placed, remember to continue looking after them so that you can enjoy your new and improved smile for many years to come.
Book an initial cosmetic consultation with Dr Shawn Rama and our in-house ceramist, Chloe to kick start your journey. Give us a call on (03) 9857 3988.
Note: there is a $170 consultation fee for this initial appointment.
Contact us on (03) 9857 3988 or book an appointment with us online.