Dental veneers have become a popular cosmetic dental treatment, providing patients with improved aesthetics and a confident smile. However, it’s essential to understand how long veneers will last and the potential complications associated with veneers. This article aims to answer the question, “How long do veneers last?” by examining scientific studies on the performance of porcelain and composite veneers from thousands of patients. We will explore the reasons behind veneer placement, its average lifespan, factors affecting its durability, potential issues over time, and strategies for maximizing how long it lasts.
What is a Veneer, and Why Do People Get Them?
Dental veneers are thin shells, usually made of porcelain or composite resin, that are bonded to the front surface of teeth. Dentists will shave down a small layer of the outer surface of your tooth to make room for the veneer and place them on top. Veneers are primarily sought after to enhance the appearance of teeth affected by discoloration, malformation, or misalignment, making people feel more confident in their smiles. They have become increasingly popular because of how fast and effective they are at creating a desired cosmetic result. Unlike the traditional route of braces, veneers can fix these issues in a short amount of time.
However, faster is not always better, and it is important to understand the long-term effects of getting veneers.
How Long Do Veneers Last On Average?
To determine the average lifespan of veneers, a systematic review of over 20 studies was conducted on the longevity of veneers. In general, these studies concluded that veneers would last anywhere from 5 to 15 years, with most lasting between 7-12 years. After 10 years, approximately 5% of all veneers had received some type of failure. This is a significantly shorter lifespan than how long natural teeth should last if taken care of properly! Additionally, since veneers require the removal of a thin layer of enamel from the natural teeth, which is an irreversible process, this solution is usually not the best for the health of the teeth.
The most common reason that these veneers failed included:
One of the main reasons for veneer failure is porcelain fracture, particularly at the incisal edges (biting surface of the tooth). Porcelain veneers are thin shells that are bonded to the front surface of teeth, and although they are strong, they can still be susceptible to fracture, especially if the biting surfaces are not adequately covered with porcelain.
Factors such as excessive biting forces, trauma, or habits like teeth grinding (bruxism) can contribute to the risk of porcelain fractures. Additionally, minimal tooth preparation during the veneer placement process may lead to thinner porcelain and increase the chances of fractures over time.
Debonding is another concern associated with veneers, referring to the failure of the veneer to remain securely bonded to the tooth surface. By replacing one solid piece of tooth with a tooth “glued” to a veneer, you automatically create a space of potential failure. Additionally, inadequate tooth preparation or poor cementation techniques can lead to debonding over time.
In areas where the veneer meets existing fillings or tooth structure, noticeable discoloration may become visible over time. When a veneer ends in an existing composite filling, it creates a vulnerable area where staining agents can penetrate, leading to discoloration. Factors such as the quality of the bonding agent used, the adaptation of the veneer to the tooth structure, and the presence of any gaps between the two can contribute to discoloration over time.
Veneers can provide an aesthetic improvement to teeth, but they don’t make them immune to dental caries (tooth decay). If oral hygiene is not maintained properly, bacteria can accumulate along the veneers’ edge, leading to plaque formation and, eventually, dental caries. This is why it is still essential for individuals with veneers to continue practicing good oral hygiene habits, including brushing and flossing regularly, to prevent the risk of caries recurrence around the edges of the veneers.
Poor Gingival Health
Veneers can impact the health of the surrounding gum tissue (gingiva) if not properly maintained. Improperly contoured or rough margins of veneers can irritate the gum tissue, leading to inflammation, redness, and potential bleeding. Inadequate oral hygiene can further worsen the situation, increasing the risk of gingival inflammation and other periodontal issues.
Strategies for Maximizing Veneer Longevity
If patients do decide to move forward with receiving dental veneers, it is vital that they follow their dentist’s instructions to make sure they last a long time. To ensure the longest possible lifespan for veneers:
- Practice good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing regularly.
- Attend regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings.
- Avoid excessive biting forces on veneered teeth, such as biting into hard objects or using teeth as tools.
- Wear a protective mouthguard during sports or activities that pose a risk of dental trauma.
- Avoid habits such as nail-biting or chewing on pens, as they can damage veneers.
- Limit the consumption of stain-causing substances, such as coffee, tea, and tobacco.
- Follow any specific care instructions provided by the dentist.
Veneers can be an effective and conservative treatment option for improving the appearance of anterior teeth. However, it’s important to understand that their lifespan can vary based on factors such as fracture, marginal defects, caries, and gingival health. It is, therefore, important for patients to properly weigh the pros and cons of veneers and understand that oral health will typically decline if veneers are used only for aesthetic purposes. Maintaining good oral hygiene, practicing preventative measures, and following dentist-recommended care instructions are crucial for maximizing the longevity of veneers. By doing so, patients can enjoy the aesthetic benefits of veneers for an extended period.
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No two mouths are the same, and each oral situation is unique. As such, it isn’t possible to give comprehensive advice or diagnose oral conditions based on articles alone. The best way to ensure you’re getting the best dental care possible is to visit a dentist in person for an examination and consultation.