Porcelain veneers are a popular cosmetic dentistry treatment that can effectively conceal discolored, chipped, short, or gapped teeth in your smile zone for improved aesthetics.
But it’s important to keep in mind veneers require attention to provide long-lasting smile beauty.
Porcelain veneers require expertise in patient selection, design, preparation, and placement. Furthermore, they can be costly and aren’t covered by dental insurance, so this isn’t an investment you should take lightly.
Rest assured, Dr. David Sabourin has more than 35 years of cosmetic dentistry experience and has helped countless patients achieve dream smiles with beautiful veneers that can stand the test of time!
In this article, you’ll learn how to maintain veneers to ensure your smile investment is durable and long-lasting.
Table of Contents
How Long Do Veneers Last?
Long-term porcelain veneer success is measured by continued aesthetic patient satisfaction, durability without becoming dislodged or fractured, the absence of staining, and functional harmony with other teeth.
Studies indicate a 10-year survival rate as high as 95.5%, with fracture of the porcelain material cited as the main reason for failure.
Clinician-related factors that influence outcomes include preparation, design, tooth vitality, type of porcelain material, and the adhesive system used. Bond durability plays a critical role in the longevity of restorations because degradation can weaken adhesion and lead to gaps between teeth and the veneers.
Certain habits, such as bruxism (teeth grinding/clenching) lead to a much higher failure rate. Other biological and mechanical problems include debonding, periodontal disease, cavities, and tooth fractures.
Best Practices for Maintaining Your Veneers
While porcelain veneers are resistant to stains, poor oral hygiene and foregoing basic preventive dental care can lead to dingy-looking veneers.
Moreover, teeth underneath veneers still require proper oral hygiene and professional dental care to prevent tooth decay and/or gum disease. The best way to keep them looking pearly white and clean is to treat them like natural teeth.
Self-care involves flossing at least once a day and brushing a minimum of twice a day.
Additional oral hygiene home tips include:
- Brush with non-abrasive toothpaste: Some brands of toothpaste have harmful abrasives that are formulated to remove surface stains and make natural teeth appear whiter, but they generally aren’t effective. Even worse, they can scratch porcelain veneers and make them look dull. Steer clear of whitening toothpaste and especially those with baking soda, because it’s abrasive.
- Floss with non-waxed floss or an interdental brush: Although regular waxed nylon dental floss is effective at cleaning, it can be difficult to slide between veneers, while unwaxed nylon is prone to shredding. Polytetrafluoroethylene floss (PTFE) floss such as Glide Pro-Health (Oral B) is the best option because it slides easily between teeth and is less likely to shred.
- Use alcohol and peroxide-free mouthwash: Alcohol in mouthwash can weaken the dental bonding used to hold your porcelain veneers in place. Over time, this type of rinse can cause loosening, micro-leakage, and possible detachment. Hydrogen peroxide should be avoided because regular use for even two weeks can cause a painful oral yeast infection.
Dietary Considerations to Protect Veneers
Extremely hard and crunchy foods can crack the surface of veneers. You should avoid chewing on ice, hard candy, granola, seeds and nuts, and popcorn. It’s also important to be careful when eating foods with bones or hard pits, like chicken wings and stone fruits because they can chip your veneers. In addition, cut steak and other tough meat into small pieces to make chewing a little easier on your veneers.
Citric fruits, tomatoes, lemonade, and alcoholic beverages can soften and erode the bonding material holding veneers in place, so it’s best to avoid them. And last, sticky foods such as caramels can cause too much stress on veneers and make them prone to debonding.
Lifestyle Tips to Preserve Veneers
Don’t bite your fingernails, chew ice, or open beer bottles or packages with your teeth! If you continue to smoke or use tobacco products, the bonding material will likely turn brown or yellow over time. This discoloration leads to an unattractive, discolored border at the edges of your veneered teeth.
Furthermore, tobacco products can contribute to decay, acidic erosion that weakens the tooth structure, gum disease and recession, and even tooth loss. If your teeth or gums are adversely affected by tobacco products, it may be necessary for Dr. Sabourin to remove the porcelain veneer, treat the underlying damage, and replace the veneer, which is time consuming and costly.
Visit a Dentist for Regular Check-ups and Maintenance
It’s important to see a dentist every six months for a check-up and professional teeth cleaning that removes stains and tartar you can’t remove at home. In addition, your dentist can examine veneers for potential issues like chips or debonding and gently polish them with a specially formulated non-abrasive paste.
Dr. Sabourin has the right tools and expertise to smooth out small chips in porcelain veneers using dental contouring. If a veneer pops off, carefully remove it and store it in a safe place. If the veneer is intact and still looks good, Dr. Sabourin may be able to reattach it, however, a broken or cracked veneer can’t be repaired and a dental laboratory must create a new one.
Special Considerations for Veneers
The heavy forces of bruxism can damage natural teeth and even more so porcelain veneers because they’re quite thin and brittle. Getting a customized night guard that fits properly is a cost-effective way to protect veneers from teeth grinding and clenching.
Likewise, consider wearing a sports mouth guard, even for non-contact sports. Getting accidentally hit in the mouth can damage your teeth or beautiful new veneers. For maximum protection, invest in a professionally made sports mouth guard fabricated by your dentist.
Speak to a Specialist like Dr. Sabourin
When you get veneers from an experienced cosmetic dentist like Dr. Sabourin, you can expect long-lasting beauty. But to ensure their durability, you need to take excellent care of your teeth, follow his recommendations, and schedule regular preventive dental care visits. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a complimentary cosmetic dentistry consultation to get started.