Dental veneers are a quick and pain-free way of improving the appearance of your teeth. Veneers can give you a straighter, whiter and more aesthetically pleasing smile in place of teeth which are:
- Discoloured or badly stained
- Broken, cracked or chipped
- Misaligned, uneven or crooked
- Very worn or short
- Irregularly shaped
Veneers are basically thinly constructed shells that are attached to the front surfaces of your teeth to cover up any imperfections. Getting veneers doesn’t involve invasive and complicated dental procedures, but rather a small amount of preparation before the veneers can be fitted. Dental veneers can successfully improve your appearance and create a smile that you’ll be proud to show off. But are they a permanent restoration, or are veneers only a temporary solution to your problems?
Well, yes and no. While dental veneers will usually need replacing at some point, the process of having them is irreversible.
The process of dental veneers is irreversible
Getting dental veneers is not a reversible process. This is due to the fact that a small amount of the tooth’s enamel needs to be removed before the veneer can be attached. Once this enamel is removed, the tooth will always need protection. Once you start down the path of veneers, you must continue, as you will need to have veneers for life. Your teeth will permanently look good once you have them veneered, as you will need to replace your veneers throughout your life.
Thus, you need to be very sure about the veneers procedure before committing to it.
The one exception
The only way you won’t end up having dental veneers for life is if too much tooth enamel erodes underneath your veneers. Veneers need a certain amount of enamel to remain viable, so if too much has eroded, you will probably have to consider another procedure (such as a crown) rather than a replacement veneer. Either way, your veneered teeth will need protection for life.
The veneers themselves are not permanent
So, once you get dental veneers you will need to have them for life – but the actual veneers themselves will sometimes need replacing. They are not permanent, although with proper care, the lifespan for dental veneers can be anywhere between seven and twenty years. While veneers are quite a long-lasting restoration, they won’t last forever, and there will come a time when you have no choice but to replace them. If you fail to look after them properly, they won’t last as long as they potentially could. You’ll need to replace them much sooner, leading to further expense and time.
How to know when your veneers need replacing
Your veneers need replacing if:
- They are chipped, cracked or excessively worn
- They have separated from your gums due to poor dental hygiene or gum disease
- The tooth under the veneer has decayed
- Your veneers were improperly applied and no longer fit properly
How to make your veneers last as long as possible
While the average lifespan of a dental veneer is around ten years, that time frame can be lengthened to up to 20 years with proper care and treatment.
- Chew on or eat hard items such as ice cubes, toffee, hard lollies or pens
- Clench or grind your teeth, as this can cause your veneers to chip or crack
- Use your teeth as tools, as loosening knots, tearing open packets etc. can be risky for your veneers
- Smoke, as this will cause your veneers to look yellow
- Follow excellent oral hygiene practices, such as daily brushing, flossing and mouthwash
- Have your teeth professionally cleaned by a dentist twice a year
- Schedule regular dental check-ups
- Wear a mouthguard when necessary, particularly in contact sports to protect your veneers from impacts
- If you must consume staining food and drinks, rinse your mouth out with water afterwards or try and use a straw when drinking
- Use a soft toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste, so you don’t wear away your veneers over time
- Choose your dentist wisely, as veneers will last longer if correctly placed by an expert dentist
Veneers are a lifetime journey, not a one-off event, and the process is something you need to be prepared to deal with for the rest of your life. In that sense they are a permanent restoration, even if they will need replacing every so often.