Are Veneers Permanent?

Happy man in a dental chair during cosmetic dental veneers consultation.

Porcelain veneers can improve almost any smile, creating the appearance of perfect teeth. Many of the actors and models you see have veneers to achieve a gorgeous smile. If you are considering porcelain veneers for a smile makeover, you may be wondering, “Are veneers permanent?”

Dental veneers are cosmetic devices used to improve the appearance of your teeth. Most veneers are made from thin shells of porcelain, designed to fit over the front of each tooth. To make veneers, impressions or molds are made of the teeth and the thin coverings are made in a dental lab.

Once the veneers are made, they need to be attached to the teeth. To create a natural look, a thin layer of enamel must be removed to allow the veneers to be attached. Each veneer is bonded to the tooth to create a façade of new teeth, creating an improved smile. Dental veneers can hide:

  • Gaps
  • Crooked teeth
  • Stained or discolored teeth
  • Uneven teeth
  • Oddly shaped teeth

Veneers are a minimally invasive cosmetic treatment to improve the appearance of your teeth. Unlike dental crowns that remove a significant amount of your teeth, veneers leave the majority of the healthy tooth intact. Only the small amount of enamel is removed for the veneer placement.

Porcelain veneers can create a gorgeous smile; but how long do veneers last? Dental veneers are an investment in your confidence and appearance, but you do need to know what to expect when you decide to improve your smile with this cosmetic treatment.

Do Veneers Last Forever?

If you are considering a smile makeover with veneers, you probably want to know – how long do veneers last? Do veneers last forever? The quick answer is no, veneers are not permanent and may need to be replaced over time. However, they can last a long time when you take proper care of your veneers.

The most popular option in veneers and many dental restorations is porcelain. It looks like natural tooth material, making it ideal for crowns, veneers, inlays and onlays. Porcelain is resistant to staining, even more so than your natural tooth enamel, but it is breakable and can be chipped or shattered.

The average lifespan for porcelain veneers is between seven and twenty years. There are many variables that can impact how long your veneers will last. While the porcelain can last for decades, it can be damaged and the teeth under the veneers can change, which may require veneers to be replaced.

When Do I Need Replacement Veneers?

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Maintaining Porcelain Veneers

In a perfect environment, porcelain veneers can last a very long time – they are made from inorganic material that does not easily disintegrate. However, your teeth and mouth can change and may introduce the thin shells of porcelain to stress that can cause damage.

To make sure your veneers last as long as possible, there are ways to protect them from damage. The following habits can prevent damage to both the veneers and the teeth they are attached to when followed closely.

Avoid Hard Foods

Porcelain is durable but veneers are very thin. If you bite down on something hard, it could damage your veneers. Avoid chewing hard foods with your front teeth – this can include carrots, hard candy, ice and anything super crunchy. Chew with your back teeth or cut items into tiny pieces before eating.

Jaw Clenching and Teeth Grinding

If you catch yourself clenching your jaw or you have been told that you grind your teeth at night, these habits can cause veneer damage. Avoid jaw clenching when you are awake and to protect your teeth and veneers, wear a dental nightguard at night when you sleep.

Oral Hygiene

Your veneers do not need any special cleaning, but the teeth underneath do! If you don’t keep your teeth and gums healthy, you may end up with cavities, gum disease and other dental problems. Brush and floss daily to keep your teeth clean and see your dental team for cleanings/checkups throughout the year.

Teeth Whitening

If you have natural teeth that still show when you smile, it is important to keep them white. Veneers are color-matched to your teeth and while porcelain is stain-resistant, your teeth are not. You will want to use whitening toothpaste and avoid staining foods and beverages to keep your teeth the same color as your veneers.
A dentist and a woman patient discussing cosmetic veneers.
When you follow these preventive measures, you have a good chance of maintaining your veneers for twenty years or longer. However, if needed, you can replace your veneers to restore the appearance of your “perfect” smile.

Are veneers permanent? Do veneers last forever? Like most dental treatments, they are not designed to last forever, but they can often last many years of your life with the right care. Talk to your dentist about the best ways to maintain your porcelain veneers to get the most from your smile investment.