Dental veneers are one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatments because they are simple and relatively non-invasive. However, their ability to completely makeover the look of a smile is quite powerful. They are a great option for patients who have healthy teeth and gums but who would like to correct the appearance of minor (or even major) imperfections in their smiles (that do not affect the integrity of the health of the teeth).
What Are Dental Veneers?
Dental veneers are thin, shell-like dental prosthetics that adhere to the fronts of a patient’s teeth to alter their appearance. They can be used to mask or correct the appearance of stains, discoloration, chips, cracks, gaps, slightly crooked teeth, misshapen teeth, broken teeth, or teeth that are too small.
How Long Do Dental Veneers Last?
The average lifespan of dental veneers varies depending on the type of material the veneers are made out of.
Porcelain Dental Veneers
Dental veneers made from porcelain have an average lifespan of about 20 years. The lifespan can be extended when they are properly cared for, or it can be shortened in cases where they receive excessive wear and tear.
Porcelain veneers are typically more expensive than composite veneers, and they are a permanent treatment, meaning once you have porcelain veneers you will need to maintain them for life. Despite that, they do last much longer, look much more natural, and are more resistant to staining.
Composite Dental Veneers
Composite dental veneers have an average lifespan of about five years since the material they are made from is not as durable, stain-resistant, or strong as porcelain.
Composite dental veneers are made from a synthetic material that’s comprised of a combination of resin (a type of plastic) and glass. Rather than being permanently cemented to the front of the teeth, composite dental veneers are “painted” on in a very thin layer. This means a patient does not have to continue maintaining them for life like they do porcelain veneers.
How to Make Your Dental Veneers Last Longer (8 Tips)
To extend the life of porcelain veneers or composite veneers, practice the following care tips:
1. Don’t Chew on Hard Objects
The excessive wear, tear, and pressure that chewing on hard objects like pen caps, pencils, or ice put on the teeth can damage dental veneers, leading to the need to replace a broken porcelain veneer or to repair a composite veneer.
2. Don’t Use Your Teeth As Tools
Just like you shouldn’t chew on hard objects, you also shouldn’t use your teeth as tools. For example, you should never use your teeth to open packaging or pop bottle caps.
3. Wear an Athletic Mouthguard
If you participate in sports or other athletic activities that have a risk of falling or impact or that involve the use of balls, sticks, or other flying objects, then you should wear an athletic mouthguard to protect your dental veneers (and the rest of your mouth) from damage.
4. Wear a Nightguard
If you have been diagnosed with sleep bruxism (clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth) at night, this can put excessive wear and tear on your teeth. You should wear a nightguard to protect your teeth while you sleep. Depending on the wear patterns your teeth display, our dentist can recommend the right type of nightguard or mouth splint for you.
5. Don’t Use Tobacco Products
Using tobacco products of any kind can stain your dental veneers, and traditional teeth whitening products do not work on the porcelain or composite materials that veneers are made out of. As a result of using tobacco, your bright, white smile can soon appear dull, stained, and yellowed.
6. Avoid Highly Pigmented Foods and Beverages
Just like tobacco can stain dental veneers, highly pigmented foods and beverages can too. Try to avoid consuming dark-colored juices, red wine, caramel-colored sodas, chocolate, tea, coffee, and berries. If you do enjoy these foods and drinks, rinse your mouth with water right after eating. Drinking with a straw can also minimize the amount of pigment your front teeth are exposed to.
7. Choose the Right Oral Hygiene Tools
It’s important that you use proper brushing techniques when you have dental veneers and that you choose dental tools that won’t damage your dental work. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles, use toothpaste that has been approved by the American Dental Association, and brush your teeth using gentle pressure and strokes only.
8. Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Continue practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly to protect the health of your teeth and gums while helping to extend the lifespan of your dental veneers.
Dental Veneers and Veneer Replacement With Our Prosthodontist in Northern Colorado
If you want to drastically improve the look of your smile, then veneers might be the right cosmetic dentistry treatment option for you. Veneers can be used to cover difficult stains or other discoloration, fill in gaps, correct the shape of a tooth, or improve the symmetry of your smile for a more attractive overall appearance.
Dr. Bock at Northern Colorado Implant & Prosthetic Dentistry is highly experienced in veneer design, creation, placement, and care. He can work with you to help you determine whether dental veneers are the right treatment option to help you meet your smile goals. To schedule a consultation, we welcome you to contact our office today.