More often than not, dental veneers are a lifelong commitment. However, the lifespan of veneers themselves is far from lifelong. Depending on whether you choose porcelain or composite veneers, lifespans will vary. Either way, the answer to the question ‘do dental veneers last forever?’ is a resounding no.
How Long Do Veneers Last on Your Teeth?
Before we answer this question, let’s first address the two different materials from which veneers can be made: porcelain and composite resin. Porcelain is the higher-quality material and most popular choice to the point where some cosmetic dentists no longer offer its composite resin counterpart.
Composite resin is more affordable, but the ultimate cost of its cost-effectiveness is a) optimal quality and b) a long lifespan. Ergo, while porcelain veneers should last between 10–15 years, their composite resin cousins are looking at between 5–8 years. This, of course, all goes on the proviso you take good care of your dental veneers.
Tips for Porcelain Veneer Preservation
1. Keep a Commendable Oral Hygiene Routine
Everyone should follow this advice, whether they have veneers or not. If you have undergone cosmetic dentistry, however, maintaining a thorough dental routine will be more important than ever.
Like a gym membership, cosmetic dentistry is both a personal and financial investment, but you won’t reap its benefits without putting in some work yourself.
Luckily, a quality dental routine is as easy as 1-2-3:
- Brush at least twice per day.
- Floss at least once per day.
- Schedule dental checkups every six months.
Fluoride mouthwash also doesn’t go astray, but don’t stress if you’re not using it every day. When you do use mouthwash, ensure to choose something that’s alcohol-free, as alcohol-based options can compromise the bonding agent used to fuse tooth to veneer.
2. Go Alcohol-Free
Remove the alcohol from your mouthwash and your beverages! Well, you don’t have to forego the bubbly or the white wine altogether, but you should at least eliminate it from your regular rotation.
Once alcohol weakens your bonding cement, it opens the floodgates to corrosion, damage and staining. Oftentimes, a beautiful smile comes at the cost of after-work (though perhaps not birthday) drinks.
3. Skip the Staining Substances
Do dental veneers stain? If they’re made from composite resin, absolutely. Porcelain has the advantage of being stain-resistant—even more so than natural teeth are—but that won’t render them completely immune to tints or minor discolouration.
To keep your veneers in their pearly prime, avoid caffeinated drinks (coffee and black tea), red wine or grape juice (hence why white wine made the ‘sometimes’ list), colourful foods or fruits (e berries), and—most critically—tobacco and nicotine products.
Do Dental Veneers Break?
The short answer to this question is yes. In fact, this is a rare moment where composite resin trumps porcelain. Though not indestructible, composite resin won’t break easily; meanwhile, porcelain often ranks among the most breakable materials.
That said, veneers are of a sturdy make, so wearing porcelain veneers is not like hosting a mouthful of fragile ornaments. Nevertheless, the fact stands that porcelain breaks easily enough to raise concern.
How to Avoid Chips, Cracks & Breaks?
1. Avoid the Nightly Grind (or Clenching by Day)
If you grind your teeth at night—or clench them during the day—you might want to address this before opting for dental veneers.
Not only will grinding and clenching wear down the porcelain, potentially compromising the lifespan of the veneers, but it will also place undue pressure on the porcelain, which can cause damage and chipping. (Side note: these actions aren’t crash-hot for composite resin, either.)
If you’re a grinder or a clencher, you may want to consider nipping this habit in the bud. Alternatively, most cosmetic dentists will recommend wearing a mouthguard while sleeping.
2. Wear a Mouthguard
As discussed, mouthguards are a great solution to grinding your teeth at night. We also recommend mouthguards if you play contact sports. This is a great tip for any contact athlete, regardless of whether they’ve undergone cosmetic dentistry or not, but it’s especially relevant to anyone sporting a smile that’s more fragile.
3. Don’t Bite Down Hard
Dental veneers are built as sturdily as possible, but they haven’t the biting power of natural teeth. For this reason, you’ll have to avoid biting down hard. Your first thought here may be boiled lollies or ice cubes—and these are good examples of what we’re talking about—but it also extends beyond food.
Your veneers won’t last as long if you bite nails, pencils or even packages when scissors aren’t available. Although we could recommend avoiding crunchy food altogether, such advice isn’t always practical. The best workaround we can suggest is to cut crunchy foods—such as carrots or nuts—into small pieces before snacktime.
When it comes to junk food—especially sticky food that wreaks havoc on the teeth, such as toffee—we would advise foregoing that altogether. As an added bonus, this would also be in your health’s best interest.
Can Dental Veneers Be Repaired?
Let’s say that, despite your best intentions, you’ve cracked or chipped your dental veneers. What happens now? Can dental veneers be repaired? While you can fix veneers, cosmetic dentists tend to recommend replacing them instead. To illustrate this point, imagine a broken porcelain ornament.
While you can glue it back together, you can never restore it to its seamless original form. And while this isn’t such an issue in the case of ornaments, veneers demand daily wear and tear. Any form of damage will weaken the veneers and, hence, affect their quality and lifespan.
When It’s Time to Replace Your Veneers?
Aside from the 10–15-year lifespan (or 5–8-year lifespan, in the case of composite veneers), there will be ways to tell when it’s time to replace your veneers. As discussed, damage or chipping is the beginning of the end—and when you consider that cracks impact aesthetics as well as function, it’s usually better to cut your losses and get a new set.
Here are some more telltale signs that you’re due for sets anew:
Veneers are an aesthetic treatment, so if they’re staining, they’re failing their fundamental purpose. Furthermore, veneers do not respond to professional teeth whitening, so there’s no way to reverse severe discolouration. If you’ve sustained substantial staining—or if the bonding material has darkened with time—that’s your cue to get some new veneers.
2. Tooth Decay
Veneers are like masks for natural teeth, protecting them from bacteria. However, with use, they may become loose, and some bacteria may sneak in on the attack.
Once sneaky bacteria have their clutches in your teeth, it’s all downhill from there. The infection will spread and the veneers may detach. In cases like this, the dentist should remove the veneers to treat the tooth decay, and ultimately replace the veneers.
3. Gum Recession
Gum recession indicates gum disease, which happens when you neglect your dental routine. If your gums recede, they may separate from your veneers—which is an urgent sign that something is amiss.
If this is happening to you, see your dentist, who can determine whether you have gum disease and treat you accordingly. As well as replace your veneers, they will need to do the work required to secure your teeth and prevent them from falling out.
Want the Best Dental Veneers on the Market?
If you want the best dental veneers in Melbourne’s inner city, why not book an appointment with us? From dental veneers and teeth whitening to white fillings and Invisalign, we boast a stunning array of cosmetic dental services.
Whether you’re wanting to straighten a crooked smile or get that ‘Hollywood’ look, we can help you achieve your cosmetic dental goals. Book an appointment at your local Abbotsford Dental Clinic to get started.