If you aren’t currently happy with your smile and are considering dental veneers as an option, then you probably want to know the answer to the question “how long do veneers last?” The short answer is anywhere between 4 and 20 years but understandably, that doesn’t give you much to go on.
The truth is that the longevity of any dental veneers depends upon several factors. So let’s take a closer look at what affects the shelf-life of a veneer.
Firstly, not all dental veneers are created equal!
When we talk about cosmetic veneers for teeth, we are in effect talking about two types of veneer.
The first type is the composite veneers. Composite veneers are made up of a composite resin material – the same material that is used for white fillings. Composite dental veneers are mixed in situ and applied directly to the front surface of the tooth to fill in small cracks or chips. While the result is a fully restored, natural-looking tooth, it’s a far cry from porcelain veneers.
So while composites are cheap and can be applied in just one dental session they don’t have an infinitely long shelf life, lasting on average 4-8 years. The second type of dental veneer, on the other hand, is a completely different entity.
Porcelain veneers are custom-made shells that are permanently fixed to the front surface of the tooth. They can either be made in a dental lab or fabricated using a 3D milling machine located in the dental office. They are designed to hide a multitude of sins including ingrained staining, cracks or chips, but in addition, porcelain veneers can be used to cosmetically alter the shape, size and rotation of a tooth.
Fixing them in position often requires the removal of some of the existing tooth enamel so that the veneer sits flush with the rest of your teeth. This does mean that the process once started is irreversible. However, in the hands of an experienced dentist what you are left with is an exquisite and flawless smile restoration that typically lasts anywhere between 10-20 years.
So now you know the answer to the question of how long do dental veneers last, are there any other factors that can alter the longevity of either composite dental veneers or porcelain veneers?
In a word yes!
Veneers are strong but not indestructible
Although both composite and porcelain veneers are pretty durable, they aren’t indestructible.
Therefore, as a general rule of thumb, anything you shouldn’t be biting down on like pen tops, ice cubes or fingernails with your natural teeth, you also shouldn’t do with your dental veneers. Doing so may cause them to crack or break, meaning that they will need to be removed and replaced.
When it comes to cosmetic dentistry, however, porcelain veneers aren’t particularly cheap costing up to $1900 per tooth. So replacing one or more broken dental veneers before their time can be costly.
Another problem for both composite and porcelain veneers is teeth grinding. Teeth grinding (otherwise known as bruxism) is primarily a nocturnal habit that occurs when an individual is asleep. As such they often have little or no recollection of doing it. Typically the effects of bruxism are discovered by the dentist during a routine dental check-up.
Any involuntary clenching, grinding or gnashing is bad news for teeth and even more so for dental veneers. It’s thought that as many as one in ten Australians grind their teeth during sleep, so if you feel that you may be a ‘bruxer’ you should look to seek help for the problem before you consider cosmetic dentistry in the form of dental veneers.
We all know what happens to the surface of teeth when we consume stain-inducing foods or beverages such as coffee, red wine or tomato sauce. The good news is that porcelain is particularly resistant to staining. The bad news, however, is that because porcelain veneers are extremely thin, powerful agents in foods like berries and coffee can still penetrate the veneer and enter the tooth below. As a result, any heavy staining may show through the translucent whiteness of your existing smile, marring the colour.
As you can see, the wonders of cosmetic dentistry can do pretty amazing things with your smile and composite dental veneers and porcelain veneers are just two options that can restore a smile quickly and instantly. However, it’s what you do to care for your restorations after the event that dictates how long your veneers last.
If you take good care of your porcelain or composite veneers then there is absolutely no reason why they can’t last for the allotted time and in some cases even longer. Conversely, if you use your veneer-covered teeth as bottle top openers, frequently eat stain-inducing foods or regularly grind your teeth, then you could find yourself replacing them quicker than you think.
If you are interested in restoring your jaded smile with composite or porcelain veneers then come and talk to the team at Dental 266 about your options. Our highly experienced dentists can help you to make an informed dental decision that could be instantly life-changing.
Call 02 9051 0600 or schedule an appointment online today.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.