Are veneers really permanent new teeth? What if they chip or crack? And how long do they actually last with proper oral care? If you’ve considered veneers for a smile upgrade, you probably have questions about what getting them entails.
Veneers, a popular dental treatment for enhancing the appearance of teeth, are often perceived as a permanent solution due to their long-lasting nature. However, it’s important to understand that while veneers are indeed durable and can last for many years, they are not truly permanent in the sense that they will eventually need replacement.
This article will uncover the truth about veneers. It will delve into how long they typically last, what impacts their durability, and what kind of upkeep is required once you get them. Read on for an in-depth examination of the facts and myths around veneers – including whether “permanent” is really an accurate or advisable approach for changing your smile.
How Long Can Veneers Last?
The lifespan of dental veneers largely depends on the type of veneer and the individual’s oral care habits. Porcelain veneers, renowned for their durability and natural appearance, typically last between 10 to 20 years. They are more resistant to stains and mimic the light-reflecting properties of natural teeth, contributing to their longevity.
On the other hand, composite resin veneers, while more cost-effective, generally have a shorter lifespan, lasting about 5 to 7 years. The longevity of veneers can be significantly influenced by factors such as oral hygiene, dietary habits, and whether the individual avoids hard foods or habits that can cause damage, like teeth grinding.
Are Veneers Removable?
Veneers, in general, are considered a semi-permanent dental treatment, as they involve a modification of the natural teeth. Traditional porcelain and composite resin veneers require the removal of a small amount of tooth enamel to ensure a proper fit, which is an irreversible process. Once applied, these veneers are bonded strongly to the teeth, meaning they cannot be easily removed without professional intervention and are not designed to be taken off and put back on.
However, there are also “no-prep” or minimal-prep veneers, like Lumineers, which require little to no alteration of the natural teeth and are somewhat easier to remove. Additionally, there are removable veneers, commonly known as snap-on veneers, which are designed to temporarily cover the natural teeth and can be taken off and put on at will.
Types of Veneers
Veneers can be categorized based on their longevity, reversibility, and removability. Long-lasting veneers offer a more permanent solution, while short-term ones are designed for temporary aesthetic improvements. Reversible veneers involve minimal to no alteration of the natural tooth structure, making them a less invasive option, whereas irreversible veneers require a significant modification of the teeth. Finally, the distinction between removable and non-removable veneers defines the level of commitment and adaptability of the treatment.
Porcelain veneers are a type of dental veneer made from high-quality porcelain, designed to cover the front surface of teeth for cosmetic improvements. They are durable, typically lasting between 10 to 20 years, and are highly stain-resistant. This makes them a long-lasting solution for discoloration, chips, and gaps.
On the downside, porcelain veneers are more expensive than other veneer types such as composite resin. The cost varies depending on factors such as location, dentist expertise, and the number of veneers needed, often ranging from several hundred to over a thousand dollars per tooth. Additionally, the application process involves the irreversible removal of a portion of tooth enamel.
Composite Resin Veneers
Composite resin veneers are a type of dental veneer made from a tooth-colored composite resin material. A key advantage of composite resin veneers is their lower cost than porcelain veneers, making them more affordable. The costs vary depending on factors such as dentist expertise and location.
These veneers typically have a shorter lifespan, lasting about 5 to 7 years. They are less resistant to staining and wear than porcelain veneers, which can be a consideration for their maintenance and longevity. The application process for composite resin veneers is usually less invasive, often requiring minimal removal of the tooth surface.
A study published in Open Access Maced J Med Sci. comparing dental veneers’ survival rates based on preparation designs and materials found that porcelain veneers offer superior aesthetic results and long-term reliability. Composite veneers are a good option but have slightly less durability. This information aids in selecting the most suitable veneer material and preparation design for optimal treatment outcomes.
Zirconia veneers, crafted from a highly durable and strong ceramic material, fall predominantly into the long-lasting category of dental veneers. Known for their exceptional strength, they are particularly suited for patients who require a durable solution, often lasting many years with proper care. In terms of reversibility, zirconia veneers, like most types of dental veneers, are typically considered irreversible. The process of applying these veneers usually involves the alteration of the natural tooth structure to ensure a proper fit, a procedure that cannot be undone. This permanent alteration places zirconia veneers firmly in the non-removable category. Once bonded to the teeth, they are meant to stay in place permanently and cannot be taken off or put on at will like removable veneers.
Minimal Prep Veneers
Minimal-prep veneers, as a category in cosmetic dentistry, are designed to offer an alternative to traditional veneers, balancing longevity with a less invasive approach. In terms of longevity, they typically fall into the long-lasting category, providing a durable cosmetic solution that can endure for many years, although they might not last as long as traditional porcelain veneers. The key feature of minimal-prep veneers is their reversibility. Unlike standard veneers that require the removal of a significant portion of tooth enamel, minimal-prep veneers involve minimal tooth alteration, preserving more of the natural tooth structure. This reduced preparation means that in some cases, the process can be reversible, presenting a less permanent commitment compared to irreversible traditional veneers. However, once applied, minimal-prep veneers are generally non-removable. They are bonded to the teeth and are not designed to be taken off and reapplied casually. Instead, they remain fixed until professional intervention for replacement or removal is required.
Snap-on veneers represent a unique category in the spectrum of dental veneers, particularly distinguished by their removability. Unlike traditional porcelain or composite veneers, snap-on veneers are designed to be completely removable, allowing users to put them on and take them off at their convenience. This feature categorizes them primarily as short-term solutions for cosmetic dental enhancements.
They are ideal for temporary aesthetic improvements, such as for special occasions, rather than as a long-term solution for dental issues. In terms of reversibility, snap-on veneers are inherently reversible, as they do not require any alteration to the natural tooth structure. There’s no need for enamel removal or permanent bonding, making them a non-invasive option. However, it’s important to note that while snap-on veneers offer the convenience of removability and reversibility, they do not provide the same durability or natural look and feel as long-lasting, non-removable veneers.
According to the report prepared by Grand View Research, the global dental veneers market size was valued at USD 2.1 billion in 2021.
What to Do to Make Veneers Last as Long as Possible?
To ensure that dental veneers retain their aesthetic appeal and structural integrity over time, it is essential to adopt specific care and maintenance routines. Dental veneers, while durable, require conscientious care to maximize their lifespan. To extend the lifespan of dental veneers, follow these practices:
- Maintain Good Oral Hygiene: Regular brushing and flossing are key to preventing tooth decay and gum disease, which can undermine the foundation of veneers. It’s essential to clean around all surfaces of the veneer and the gum line to prevent plaque buildup, ensuring the health of both the veneers and the natural teeth they are bonded to.
- Use Non-Abrasive Toothpaste: The surface of veneers can be scratched by abrasive toothpaste. Opting for a gentle, non-abrasive toothpaste helps maintain the polish and shine of the veneers.
- Regular Dental Check-Ups and Clean-ups: Professional dental cleanings and check-ups are critical for maintaining veneers. Dentists can spot early signs of potential issues and provide cleanings that keep veneers in top condition.
- Avoid Damaging Habits: Habits such as biting nails, chewing on hard objects (like ice, pens, or hard candy), and using teeth as tools can exert undue stress on veneers, leading to chips or cracks.
- Use a Night Guard for Teeth Grinding: Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can exert significant force on veneers, potentially causing them to crack or dislodge. Wearing a night guard can protect veneers from the effects of grinding during sleep, preserving their integrity.
- Wear a Mouthguard for Sports: Wearing a mouthguard during physical activities, especially contact sports, can prevent them from getting chipped or dislodged due to impact.
- Minimize Stain-Causing Foods and Beverages: Veneers are less prone to staining than natural teeth, but certain substances like coffee, tea, and red wine can still cause discoloration over time. Reducing the consumption of these items can help in maintaining the veneers’ color.
While dental veneers are often perceived as permanent due to their longevity, it’s important to understand that they are not indestructible and will eventually require replacement. With proper care and maintenance, high-quality veneers like porcelain can last upwards of 10-20 years, while more affordable options like composite resin may need replacement after 5-7 years.
The lifespan of veneers depends greatly on the material used and the patient’s oral hygiene and habits. Adhering to practices like regular brushing, non-abrasive toothpaste, protective nightguards, and avoiding damaging behaviors helps preserve veneers.
So by selecting a durable veneer type, caring for them responsibly, and scheduling regular dental visits, patients can benefit from many years of aesthetic improvements from these thin facades. While veneers will inevitably need replacement at some point, their longevity can be extended tremendously given the proper precautions.
Alothman, Y., Bamasoud, M. S., The Success of Dental Veneers According To Preparation Design and Material Type, Open Access Maced J Med Sci. 2018 Dec 20; DOI: 10.3889/oamjms.2018.353. Available online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6311473/
Hepdeniz, O. K., Temel, U. B., Clinical survival of No-prep indirect composite laminate veneers: a 7-year prospective case series study, BMC Oral Health. 2023; DOI: 10.1186/s12903-023-02949-5. Available online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10158390/
Meer Rownaq Ali, A. B., Conventional Versus Minimally Invasive Veneers: A Systematic Review, Cureus. 2023. DOI: 10.7759/cureus.44638. Available online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10548404/