Veneers are the ultimate option for a smile makeover. Whether you have crooked, stained, gapped or uneven teeth, veneers can quickly change your smile’s appearance. Porcelain veneers are an investment in your smile – they can last for many years, and they maintain a whiter appearance than natural teeth. But before you decide to get veneers, you should know what to expect and how soon you will need replacement veneers.
How Do Veneers Work?
Permanent veneers are usually made from porcelain, as it provides a natural appearance and it is durable, stain-resistant and shapeable. Porcelain veneers are designed from thin shells of porcelain that are shaped to fit each tooth. A cosmetic dentist uses a mold of the teeth – most dentists now use digital 3D imaging – to create customized veneers that will fit over the front of the teeth. Once the veneers are created, enamel is removed from the teeth to accommodate the thin porcelain and the veneers are bonded to the teeth.
With the new digital technology available, patients can see what their new smile will look like before they order their veneers. Almost any dental flaw can be hidden behind veneers and most patients can have their new smile within two weeks of their first appointment. However, everyone should know that veneers will not last forever, and they will need replacement veneers to maintain the look of their new smile.
What To Expect With Veneers
Once your veneers are bonded to your teeth, the maintenance is simple. You will clean them just like your natural enamel to keep them white, which you need to do to care for your teeth. Your dentist may give you specific care instructions, but in most cases, it will be the same recommendations as routine oral hygiene. Brushing at least twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste is important, as well as flossing at least once a day. Your new veneers should not interfere with your normal oral hygiene routine.
Beyond cleaning, you do want to protect your veneers from damage. They are a significant investment, and you want them to last as long as possible before you need replacement veneers. To prevent damage, you want to avoid grinding your teeth, jaw clenching or chewing habits that can damage the veneers. If you have bruxism, make sure to discuss this with your dentist. You may need to wear a nightguard to protect both your teeth and veneers from jaw clenching and teeth grinding damage, and a mouthguard when playing sports.
It is also important to visit your dentist at least once a year for a checkup and cleaning to maintain your veneers and oral health. Your dentist should give you a cleaning schedule to follow to ensure your teeth, gums and veneers are maintained. Between visits, avoid foods and beverages that can stain your veneers and keep up with your home oral hygiene.
Replacing Your Veneers
Replacement veneers will be required to keep your new smile. Most veneers can last about ten years when properly maintained, but damage or poor hygiene can require replacements sooner. It is important to watch for signs that your veneers need replacement, so that you can schedule your visit to have your replacement veneers ordered before they deteriorate. Some of the signs that it is time to replace your veneers include:
- Chips, stains or cracks on your veneers. Porcelain can be damaged and if you see cracks occurring or chips, it is time to schedule an appointment for veneer replacement.
- Separation. If the veneer begins to separate from the tooth, it needs to be replaced before it completely falls off on its own.
- Gaps between the gums. Receding gums are a sign of gingivitis or gum disease. You may need gum disease treatment if there is a gap between the gums and veneer, and you also may need replacement veneers.
- Tooth decay. If your tooth is decaying behind your veneers, you may need the veneers removed and treatment for your decayed tooth. Your dentist can determine whether the veneer needs to be replaced.
Even with careful maintenance, eventually, replacement veneers may be needed. Your new veneers can be adjusted for any changes to your teeth or gums and for cosmetic purposes. In some cases, not all of your veneers may need to be replaced, if only one or a few are damaged.
Veneers can be a gorgeous option to create the smile you want without months or years of dental treatments. Once you get your smile makeover, caring for your veneers can help them last longer before they need replacement. When it comes time for replacement veneers, contact your local cosmetic dentist to schedule an exam and veneer consultation. You can enjoy the benefits of a new smile that can last another decade with routine maintenance.