Veneers are a great way to enhance your smile. But they won’t protect you from cavities if you don’t care for your teeth.
Veneers have become a go-to cosmetic dental procedure in recent years. Made of either porcelain or composite resin, veneers improve the appearance of a tooth that is discolored, chipped, or oddly shaped. Veneers can also close the gap between widely spaced teeth. These thin shells of tooth-colored material are a more affordable and less invasive option than a crown. But if you have veneers, does that mean you can’t get cavities?
Unfortunately, your veneer-treated tooth can still harbor decay if you don’t practice good oral hygiene. Let’s review why veneers won’t completely protect you from dental decay.
Why do cavities happen?
Your mouth brims with bacteria. Usually, daily brushing and flossing clear away most of the bacteria. But if bacteria stays on your teeth, it mixes with the sugars and starches in your food to form an acid. The acid eats away at the first layer of the tooth (the enamel). At this stage, the minerals in your saliva and the fluoride in your toothpaste can replace most of the lost enamel.
Yet if the decay reaches the next layer (the dentin), a deep cavity will form, causing pain and sensitivity. The only way to repair a cavity is with a filling. And you are not alone if you’ve had a cavity filled! The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates roughly 90 percent of adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have had tooth decay.
But can a veneer protect you from a cavity? Not really. It depends on how well you take care of your teeth. A veneer is a thin strip covering the front of the tooth. To place a veneer, some enamel is stripped away before the veneer is cemented to the tooth. While the veneer cannot become decayed, the tooth it covers remains vulnerable to cavities since some of your natural enamel has been removed. The bacteria and acids that cause decay can seep underneath the veneer and lead to a cavity, especially if you neglect your oral health. That’s why veneers are not recommended for people with severe tooth decay or gum disease.
How to take care of your veneer — and your teeth
Once you have veneers, you don’t need to follow many restrictions. With proper care, they can last up to 15 years. Although porcelain veneers are stain resistant, you might want to steer clear of pigmented foods such as tea, coffee, wine, and berries to keep them pearly white. Veneers are strong but can break if you bite down on hard objects. In addition, using whitening products on veneers is not recommended.
All in all, you can treat your veneers like your natural teeth, and that means adhering to excellent oral hygiene practices, such as:
Brushing and flossing daily. Brushing and flossing remove most bacteria in your mouth to prevent cavities. Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush. Rinse with a fluoridated mouthwash.
Drinking tap water. Instead of sipping from bottled water, drink tap water. Fluoride is usually added to public drinking water supply, while most bottled water doesn’t contain fluoride.
Limiting sweets and starches. Sugary foods and beverages promote the growth of bacteria, which leads to cavities. Limit sweet sodas, cookies, hard candies, milk, chips, and cake. Or brush soon after you consume those drinks and foods to whisk away the sugars and starches.
Seeing your dentist regularly. During those twice-yearly dental appointments, the hygienist thoroughly cleans your teeth to remove bacteria and plaque, which causes cavities. Your dentist checks your teeth for any signs of decay so it can be stopped before it results in more damage to your teeth.
The bottom line is that veneers are primarily cosmetic and will not protect you from cavities. You still must care for your teeth to prevent decay.
Thinking of veneers? See an Espire dentist in Wyoming
Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Cheyenne, WY, location today! Our highly trained dentists can fit you with the perfect set of veneers to give you a perfect smile. Don’t live near our Cheyenne, WY, office? Find one of our other locations near you.
7112 Commons Circle
Cheyenne, WY 82009