Maximize the lifespan of your veneers by taking care of them just like you’d normally take care of your teeth.
Veneers are thin shells that are permanently bonded to the front of the tooth to treat a variety of cosmetic concerns, such as breaks, chips, discoloration, or unusual size. Veneers can also be applied to protect the surface of the tooth.
In the majority of cases, people opt to get one veneer to repair a broken or chipped tooth, but it’s not uncommon for people to get between six and eight to create a more symmetrical and even smile. The teeth that most commonly receive veneers are the top eight in the front.
In order to ensure that your veneers last as long as possible, it’s helpful to know how they are applied.
How Veneers are Applied
There are two kinds of veneers: porcelain and resin-composite. Each has its own advantages and requires a slightly different means of application.
Composite veneers are sometimes call “no-prep” veneers because they can be fitted and affixed to the teeth in the same appointment. Your dentist will shape the composite so that it matches both your tooth color and the rest of your smile, and then use dental cement and ultraviolet light to bind the veneer to the surface of the tooth.
Porcelain veneers take a little long to apply, as they require an initial appointment where your dentist will create a mold of your teeth. This mold is sent to a lab, which will use the mold to create custom veneers fitted for your teeth. These will usually be sent back to your dentist within two weeks. At a follow-up appointment, your dentist will ensure that the veneers are the proper color, fit, and shape before applying them. Similar to their resin-composite counterpart, porcelain veneers are attached using dental cement and ultraviolet light.
How to Protect Your Veneers
Unlike many other dental procedures, the process of veneer application requires minimal recovery time. In fact, once the veneers are cemented onto your teeth, you can eat normally, though you’ll want to be careful to avoid biting your tongue or cheeks while the anesthetic wears off.
On average, porcelain veneers last somewhere between 10 and 15 years, while composites have a 5 to 7 year lifespan. However, just as there are certain things you can do to protect the health of your teeth, there are precautions you can take to maximize the life of your veneers, including the following:
- Avoid chewing on ice, fingernails, and other hard objects.
- Don’t use your teeth to tear open packaging.
- Don’t chew with your front teeth — instead, use your molars.
- If you’re prone to grinding your teeth at night, wear a splint or retainer.
- Always wear a mouthguard when engaged in sports or physical activity.
Veneers also stain like regular teeth, so in order to avoid discoloration, you can either limit the amount of coffee, tea, and wine you consumer, or be sure to brush immediately after doing so.
With the proper care, veneers can be an effective and long-lasting dental solution. General wear and tear is expected to happen as time goes on, but the good news is that veneers can be touched up or replaced as needed.