Are Dental Veneers Permanent?
Dental veneers can treat a variety of issues, both to improve oral health or simply for cosmetic purposes. They can be used to:
- Repair chipped or cracked teeth
- Create a whiter smile when whitening treatments will not work
- Close gaps between teeth
- Repair unevenly shaped or sized teeth
- Restore worn down teeth due to teeth grinding, erosion, or forceful brushing
- Hide white spots caused by getting too much fluoride
While veneers are made from durable porcelain, they are not strong enough to withstand the forces of biting and chewing towards the back of the mouth. Dental veneers are used only on front teeth. Even so, this treatment option is very durable. With proper home care and routine dental checkups, veneers can last for 10 to 15 years, or even longer in some patients.
Depending on when a patient first receives dental veneers, they may need to replace them at some point during their lifetime. However, due to the nature of veneers and the application process, the treatment is irreversible. If a patient wanted a different type of smile restoration down the road, the tooth would likely need to be extracted first.
Understanding the veneer treatment process
Before dental veneers are applied to teeth, the dentist must first prepare the surface of a tooth for a strong bond and a natural-looking appearance. To accomplish these tasks, the outer layer of the tooth, known as the enamel, must be removed. Tooth enamel is irreplaceable; the body will not create more to grow back over time. Therefore, once it is removed, the results are permanent.
After the enamel is removed, the dentist will use certain tools to create a textured surface, which allows the covering to adhere more tightly to the tooth. The veneer is then cemented in placed and shaped and polished to create the desired finished product.
Increasing the lifespan of dental veneers
Dental veneers usually do not last a lifetime, but there are ways to help ensure they last as long as possible.
Keep them clean
To begin, it is important to clean your teeth thoroughly, especially where the veneers are placed. Brush twice a day with a soft toothbrush and avoid using harsh, gritty toothpaste; these can scratch the porcelain surface. Remember to floss with care on a daily basis as well.
Do not skip routine checkups with your dentist. Not only can they monitor your dental veneers, but they can also clean the hard-to-reach places where plaque and bacteria can grow. Your teeth are still susceptible to decay, even with veneers, so they should be professionally cleaned every six months.
Watch what you eat and drink
Technically, no foods are completely off-limits with veneers. However, hard, chewy, or sticky foods can potentially damage veneers, so it can be beneficial to avoid them. Smoking, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption can be harmful to your oral health and can also shorten the lifespan of certain types of dental work, including veneers.
Be aware that dark-colored beverages and foods can stain the veneers over time. Try to limit or avoid red wine, dark sodas, coffee, tea, blackberries, and blueberries. If it is hard to stay away from your daily coffee or soda, drink the beverage with a straw and make sure that it is far enough back from the teeth. This ensures the staining liquid will not come into contact with the veneers.
Avoid using your teeth on non-food items
If you are used to opening containers with your teeth, or you chew on hard items like fingernails or pens, it is time to stop. Doing this can damage the fragile veneers, like chipping or cracking them. You should also avoid chewing on ice.
Protect them from bad behaviors
If you grind or clench your teeth, be aware that this can cause damage to your veneers. Playing contact sports is also potentially damaging to them. To protect your teeth, wear a mouthguard when playing sports or at night to avoid damage.
Patients should keep in mind that the veneer treatment process is irreversible. Once a person chooses to receive dental veneers, they are committed for life unless the tooth is extracted in the future. Fortunately, dental veneers are extremely durable. However, there are things that can potentially cause wear and tear, so know how to take care of them to extend their life. With excellent home and professional care, they can last for many, many years.
Request an appointment here: https://www.sandcreekdentist.com or call Sandcreek Dental at (208) 513-1092 for an appointment in our Idaho Falls office.
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