A perfect smile is worth a million dollars. Who does not want a perfect million-dollar smile? However, not everyone is blessed with a perfect smile. Some have stained teeth, cracked or chipped teeth, gaps between their teeth, crooked teeth and at times uneven teeth. There are several options available out there in the market for enhancing the aesthetics of your smile. However, choosing the right option might actually get daunting. A consultation with your cosmetic dentist might determine that the most appropriate treatment to address the aesthetic needs of your smile is porcelain veneers. These are versatile dental ceramic shells that work wonders.
Porcelain veneers can transform your smile completely. The porcelain shells directly adhere to your natural teeth using dental bonding. Porcelain is a strong material, which actually lasts longer than the natural enamel of your teeth. Veneers can also correct the appearance of numerous cosmetic imperfections, such as misshaped teeth, slight spacing issues, discoloration as well as issues related to irregular sizing.
As a prospective patient, the set of questions that you may have are:
- Porcelain veneers seem extremely delicate, how long will they last
- Whether they require constant repair and replacement
- Are there any stringent precautions that one should follow to retain them in their actual shape for a longer period of time
Well, let us now take a moment to address all these matters in detail. However, before this let us first give you a brief history of porcelain veneers.
Porcelain Veneers – History
Introduced to the industry of cosmetic dentistry in mid 1980s, porcelain veneers were then secured using powerful resin bonding. Before securing them, the tooth enamel as well as the porcelain were specially treated. Since then, the techniques and designs of porcelain veneers have been drastically improved, where lithium disilicate is used for making these veneers. As this material is several times stronger than the first generation porcelains, it provides increased durability, without compromising on the aesthetics of your smile.
How Long Do Porcelain Veneers Last?
In simple words, porcelain veneers are actually long lasting and are highly durable. However, there are several factors that contribute to the longer lifespan of porcelain veneers. When porcelain veneers are appropriately done, they do not wear out easily as they get tightly bonded to the teeth. Consequently, they derive their strength from the teeth to which they are attached. That being said, abnormal chewing habits (par function) can place abnormal loads onto veneers. This might lead to chipping of the porcelain veneer’s edges. Some abrasive polishing methods could lead to the surface of the porcelain becoming porous and rough, leading to easy staining of the porcelain. Improper maintenance will make them chipped or scratched. A well balanced diet is important because frequent snacking on sugary foods can lead to cavities on the edges around the veneer or in the underlying tooth structure itself.
When they are maintained well, veneers technically last for 10 to 15 years. Often even longer. However, like natural teeth, Day-to-day wear and tear can result in gradual degradation of your porcelain veneers. Although veneers are non-living, the gum tissues to which they are surrounded and the tooth to which they are attached are living. They may change with time. Recession over time may mean that at some point of time veneers might require replacement.
What Affects the Lifespan of Porcelain Veneers?
Although your question regarding their durability is answered, it is worth evaluating the factors that actually determine the durability of porcelain veneers. Some of the major factors include, eating habits, dental hygiene, and tooth decay around porcelain veneers, unfortunate accidents and many more. Visiting your dentist at least twice a year is important to monitor any damage or identify the need for timely repair or replacement.
When people want to know about the durability of porcelain veneers, they might actually be seeking answers for more specific concerns, which are discussed below.
Will they break as the time passes?
Well, the answer for this question is perhaps. Although it is difficult to break porcelain veneers, they are not unbreakable. Furthermore, when they are structurally overloaded or are subjected to sudden trauma, they might get fractured or chipped. Destructive forces created by aggressive habits, such as clenching and grinding, will damage porcelain veneers.
Will they just come off?
Ceramic veneers will rarely come off. One common reason for this is either error in performance or material handling. At times, inadequate dental enamel might lead to failure in bonding of the tooth to the veneer. This indicates that veneers were an inappropriate choice for restoring the affected teeth/tooth.
What is the effect of time on porcelain veneers?
Although porcelain veneers remain intact as long as they are appropriately maintained, there are instances in which people would want their veneers to be replaced. This is because, gums recede with time. Due to receding of gums, the stains accumulated in the margins of the gums, which were previously hidden, will now become more evident.
Patients who choose to have porcelain veneers, which are significantly brighter than their natural tooth enamel might get disappointed with the re-emergence of the darker underlying tooth enamel, or dentine, as the gums recede. If this happens after many years, porcelain veneers can be replaced to refresh the smile.
Although our dental ceramic is extremely color stable, over the years the colour of your natural teeth can darken and become highly translucent. As time passes, teeth, which are not veneered might start looking increasingly different from those that are veneered, thereby resulting in colour mismatches with adjacent teeth.