Porcelain veneers can vastly improve the quality of your smile, and they are made of one of the most durable dental materials. But they cannot be guaranteed to last forever. Over time, it’s only natural that they will suffer from small chips and erosion, assuming they do not become broken or stained before that. Even if you take excellent care of your teeth and restorations, eventual wear and tear will gradually detract from the uniform, near-perfect smile they once achieved. In order to make the most of your veneers, take a moment to learn how the replacement process works and when it is needed.
Why Replace Veneers?
The most obvious reason to replace porcelain veneers is in the event of obvious damage. Large chips and cracks look the same on veneers as they do on regular teeth. Worse yet, broken veneers only increase the likelihood of further damage, and if a veneer breaks off completely, it leaves the underlying tooth exposed.
But even relatively unbroken veneers may warrant replacement. Additional reasons may include:
- Worn shape: Over time, veneers may become worn around the occlusal surface, leading to undersized veneers or dulled edges. The difference may seem subtle, but a new veneer’s full shape greatly lends itself to an attractive smile.
- Discoloration: Even though porcelain is considered stain resistant, it is not impossible for discoloration to occur. This is especially true if patients eat a lot of vividly colored and acidic foods, and/or neglect their daily hygiene.
- Tooth decay: If decay forms within a tooth, any restorations must be removed during restorative treatment. If a cavity forms under a veneer, the veneer will have to be replaced after treatment.
- Unsatisfactory veneer placement: Not all dentists are equally experienced with placing porcelain veneers. If you are unsatisfied with another dentist’s cosmetic treatment, we will gladly replace your veneers with ones that better complement and augment your smile.
How Long Should Veneers Last?
Generally, the lifespan of a veneer is proportionate to how well one takes care of it. Good hygiene and dietary habits are enough for most people to avoid decay and discoloration. For those who play sports or suffer from bruxism, further protection such as a mouthguard may be needed to avoid damage. Additionally, patients should avoid chewing on non-food items or using their teeth as tools, as this can easily result in chipping.
With the right aftercare, veneers can easily last 15 years or longer. Some patients can go decades before noticing any substantial changes to their veneers. Of course, everyone is different, and your veneers can be periodically checked during regular exams and cleanings, along with the rest of your teeth and restorations.
The Replacement Process
If you require replacement for your porcelain veneers, the process is similar to the placement of your initial veneers. You can expect the following procedure at our office:
- After administering a local anesthetic, we will remove the old veneers much like the initial removal of enamel. This will create room for the new veneers.
- Impressions of your teeth will be taken and sent to an outside lab, where the veneers will be expertly crafted to match your smile.
- In the interim, temporary veneers may be placed over your teeth to protect them and preserve your smile’s appearance while the permanent veneers are crafted.
- In one to two weeks, your new veneers will arrive, at which point you will be called back into our office. The veneers will be carefully positioned and cemented in place.
Once your veneers are placed, you can leave our office and continue about your day without any worries. With the right care and protection, your veneers should last just as long, if not longer, than your old ones.
Keep Your Smile Bright
Porcelain veneers are one of the most effective ways of improving a smile’s appearance, whether through an individual tooth or a complete smile makeover. But veneers are only effective so long as they remain full, bright, and spotless. Contact our office to learn more about how to protect your veneers, or if you believe it may be time to replace them.