A Background: What Are Veneers And How Do They Work?

Porcelain veneers are finely crafted, tailor-made shells made of high-quality dental porcelain that attach to the front of your teeth. Their primary role is to enhance each tooth’s appearance.

Here are some common uses:

  • Adults that have stained teeth from years of coffee-drinking or smoking can benefit from veneers, which can bring back their gleaming white appearance.
  • Veneers also offer a way for misaligned teeth, or teeth with gaps, to appear straighter.
  • Veneers can restore the appearance of teeth damaged from injuries that led to chips and fractures.

The use of veneers as a cosmetic dental treatment dates back several decades. Over the years, advances in dental technology and materials have made veneers more natural-looking and durable. One of the reasons for their enduring popularity is that they offer a non-invasive solution to a variety of dental concerns, often transforming a person’s smile with minimal discomfort or recovery time.

Risks and Considerations of Veneers

Porcelain veneers are widely recognized as a safe and effective cosmetic dental solution, but like any medical procedure, there are certain things you should be aware of.

The application of veneers involves the removal of a small layer of enamel from your teeth. This is how the veneers are adhered, and it’s a permanent and cannot be reversed. This is why while veneers can be an excellent restorative option for some people, dentists are selective about when they recommend them as a course of treatment.

The longevity of veneers depends largely on the user’s personal habits. With proper oral hygiene and good upkeep, and with careful choices of food and drink, veneers can last many years. Usually, around ten to fifteen years.

Food and Beverages That Can Damage Veneers Over Time:

Things that lower the lifespan of veneers include eating a lot of hard, crunchy foods, as well as foods that are chewy and sticky. Acidic foods can weaken the porcelain material of veneers over time.

Food that stain teeth, such as dark berries, red sauce, coffee, wine, and tobacco are the most common culprits of tooth staining in general. Veneers are no different, and these substances can discolor veneers over time as well.

Acid-producing bacteria in the mouth carries the same risks as with regular teeth. Flossing regularly is important, since bits of food stuck between and behind teeth can continue to wear away both the enamel and porcelain surfaces.

How Many Times Can Veneers Be Replaced?

And as mentioned above, since applying veneers involves removing a layer of enamel for ideal adherence, each time veneers need to be replaced the dentist will need to examine the state of the remaining enamel of the tooth itself.

If there is sufficient enamel left to adhere a new veneer, great. Veneers should be able to be replaced as many times as needed as long as that remains the case.

But if there isn’t sufficient enamel left, it’s likely that it won’t be feasible to replace the veneer. Without an enamel surface, it would mean attaching the veneer to the dentin, which is an area of the tooth underneath the enamel layer. Veneers don’t bond well to dentin.

In cases where it’s not viable to replace a veneer anymore, an alternative is applying a dental crown. A crown ends up being a replacement for most of the tooth altogether, and doesn’t have the same limitations that a veneer does.

However, even crowns can wear over the years and potentially need to be replaced.

Dental Veneers For Children

Veneers can be used for children with damaged teeth, but most dentists don’t recommend veneers for children younger than 8. This is because a child’s teeth are still growing at that point, and it’s impossible to know exactly how veneers will interact with teeth during that process.

(Or if the fit and comfort will change as that happens.)

The other reason dentists may be reluctant to recommend veneers for children is because veneers don’t always last more than 10-15 years. That early in someone’s life, that could mean by midlife replacements are no longer an option. Only your dentist can decide after a thorough examination.