A common misconception about dental work is that restorations can be expected to last a lifetime. Unfortunately, even when patients take excellent care of their teeth, most dental materials will require eventual replacement. This is equally true of elective cosmetic procedures such as porcelain veneers. Despite porcelain’s durability, it can only last so long before incurring damage or losing its aesthetic benefits.
Still, the lifespan of your veneers is largely dependent upon your dental care. By understanding what to expect of your veneers and what causes them to need replacement, you can make them last as long as possible. Take note of the below information on the lifespan and replacement of porcelain veneers, as provided by our Boston cosmetic dentistry office.
Causes for Replacement
Porcelain veneers may need to be replaced due to a variety of reasons. In some cases, damage can be sudden and unexpected, while other causes are far more gradual. By learning the most common reasons for replacement, you can properly minimize the risks to your restorations:
- Large chips or cracks: Excessive pressure can cause porcelain to chip or crack. This may occur due to physical injury from accidents or contact sports, but can also occur from any instance of biting down on a hard foreign object. In some cases, habitual teeth grinding at night results in noticeable chips.
- General wear: Porcelain does not erode in the way that enamel and composite restorations do, but it can incur many small chips from regular biting and eating habits. Over time, this can lead to a significant change in size and appearance.
- Tooth decay: If a cavity forms within a tooth covered by the veneer, the veneer will have to be removed in order for treatment to commence. Since veneers are removed by grinding them down like regular tooth tissue, a new one will have to be installed afterward.
- Discoloration: Porcelain is resistant to most instances of staining, but it is possible for some discoloration to form over the years, especially if patients neglect hygiene habits. Alternatively, the overall shade of a smile is prone to change as well, making veneers a contrasting color rather than a complementary one.
The Lifespan of Your Veneers
On average, porcelain restorations are said to last up to 15 years. However, this is a ballpark figure that may be an overestimate for some and an underestimate for others. If a veneer becomes unexpectedly damaged or the tooth forms decay, it will need to be replaced no matter how much time has transpired. On the other hand, patients who take excellent care of their veneers can go decades without seeing any significant changes to them. As long as a veneer continues to serve its cosmetic purpose and the underlying tooth is healthy, there is no need to replace it.
The Replacement Process
If a veneer does require replacement, the procedure will proceed as follows:
- The remainder of the old veneer will be removed in a similar process to the original removal of enamel. However, no additional enamel will need to be removed.
- An impression will be taken of the tooth in preparation for the new veneer. The digital impression will be sent to our in-office CEREC® milling machine. This allows us to craft patients’ veneers and dental crowns within an hour, as opposed to the days or weeks patients must wait for veneers to come from an outside lab.
- Once ready, it will be tested for a good fit. If any final changes need to be made, they will be completed on the spot.
- The veneer will be permanently cemented in place, and you can immediately benefit from your restored smile.
Schedule an Appointment
If you believe you may need new porcelain veneers, schedule a consultation with Dr. Rapisarda. Additionally, remember that routine exams are an integral part of dental health, and will help track the status of your restorations. Contact us for more information or to schedule your next appointment.