Dental Veneers: Maintaining a Lasting Smile

Sometimes referred to as ‘instant orthodontics’, veneers can achieve a rapid cosmetic fix compared to the time required for conventional orthodontics. The most two common types of veneers are porcelain and composite veneers. Both types can transform your smile. Dental veneers are a thin casing of porcelain or composite resin that is bonded to the front of a tooth’s surface to improve the appearance of a natural tooth. However, just like natural teeth, veneers need proper care for longevity.  

Dental veneers are a common cosmetic treatment option for enhancing your smile. A treatment plan from a prosthodontist can address a range of minor cosmetic imperfections, such as chips, gaps, crowded teeth, discolouration, or missing teeth. The versatility of dental veneers makes them an appealing option for people seeking an improved smile.  

Unlike restorative dental treatments like implants or a complete restoration, dental veneers provide a more conservative approach to cosmetic dentistry as they are less invasive. There is usually no pain or discomfort, and the procedure is fast with limited downtime. A very thin layer of enamel is removed from the front surface of the teeth that are being prepared for veneers. At Western Prosthodontic Centre, we aim to preserve as much natural tooth structure as possible to fit the veneer and obtain the best cosmetic and functional result possible.  

Porcelain veneers are very thin layers of custom-made porcelain, which are manufactured in a laboratory using a mould of a patient’s prepared teeth. The porcelain veneer shells are bonded to the front of a tooth to change its appearance. They reflect light similar to natural teeth and seamlessly blend in with the rest of your smile. 

As they are made from porcelain, the veneers are more durable than other material options. With proper maintenance, they can last between 10–20 years. However, individual experiences differ and different factors will influence the lifespan of the veneers.  

Composite veneers are a resin material fixed to the front surface of a tooth. After applying the resin to a tooth, it’s cured under a light and polished. They may require more frequent maintenance than porcelain veneers but are a good alternative for individuals seeking a cheaper option. 

Unlike porcelain veneers, composite veneers have a shorter life span. The average longevity of this material type is 4–8 years before requiring repair or replacement. 

Factors that Influence Veneer Longevity 

Several factors influence the durability, longevity, and long-term success of dental veneers. Understanding these factors is important for maintaining a lasting and beautiful smile. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind. 

Material: As mentioned, the two different material types have different lifespans. Despite being ultra-thin and more time-consuming to apply, porcelain veneers have the longest lifespan. 

Maintenance: Your prosthodontist will provide you with an oral care plan to help maintain your dental veneers. Following it is crucial in maintaining the longevity of your new smile. Basic oral hygiene routine is a must, such as brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Despite being made of porcelain, they are still applied to a living tooth, which still requires care and attention to maintain a healthy surface to which the veneer is bonded. 

Protection: The edges of the veneers can be vulnerable to chipping or damage. Speak to your prosthodontist on how to protect these, especially if you participate in sports or eat harder foods, which may place a higher risk on your veneers. Manage your veneers carefully to prevent unnecessary wear and tear. 

Dental treatments: Other dental treatments may be required before having veneers, for example, orthodontic treatment. It is important to discuss and address any underlying dental issues with your specialist before getting veneers. Dental specialists such as prosthodontists should perform the application of veneers rather than general dentists. This ensures that other specialists are referred to for treatment and these treatments are done separately and in the correct order. 

Prolonging the Lifespan of Dental Veneers 

Creating a routine of certain habits and precautions for your dental veneers will help with their lifespan. Here are some practical tips to maintain your veneers for years to come. 

Protect your veneers at night: Teeth grinding, or bruxism as it is otherwise known, is a common cause of damaged teeth and the worst part is that you don’t know that you are doing it because you are asleep. An occlusal splint or night guard is a custom fitted oral application that provides a protective barrier and prevents excessive pressure on your veneers, safeguarding them from damage.  

Drink and rinse with water: Sugary drinks and other acidic beverages pose a risk to your oral health. The acid in the drinks can weaken the outer enamel of your teeth and slowly dissolve the dental bonding material, thereby affecting the longevity of your veneers. Drinking water and rinsing your mouth out after a meal can help significantly reduce the acids in your mouth and the risk of associated dental issues. 

Protect during sports: As previously mentioned, if you play sports or participate in athletic activities, consider a custom-made mouth guard to protect your veneers. The mouth guard will help absorb impact and help prevent unnecessary trauma. 

By following these tips, you can contribute to the longevity of your dental veneers and maintain their aesthetic appeal. Remember, like your natural teeth, your veneers require care and attention. You can enjoy a beautiful smile that lasts with proper precautions and regular dental visits. 

Cosmetic Treatment Options 

There are often multiple options for improving the aesthetics and health of a smile, with veneers being just one option. Some alternatives are less invasive, such as dental bonding, which will mask a minor imperfection or teeth whitening. Neither requires the preparation work of drilling natural teeth that porcelain veneers require. Orthodontic braces may achieve a similar aesthetic result as veneers but may take a year or longer. 

Also, not everyone is a suitable candidate for veneers. When teeth are broken, badly decayed, or in need of a root canal, a dentist or specialist may recommend a patient choose crowns instead of veneers. A crown is thicker and covers the entire tooth. 

There’s a lot to consider when deciding which treatment option is right for you. It’s best to speak to your prosthodontist about the pros and cons of each one. Not every dentist or specialist will recommend the same treatment, so it’s ideal to see a prosthodontist for a second opinion before commencing any treatment. A second opinion can save you time and money and help you achieve your goal. 

For more information on our treatments using porcelain veneers click here, or for more information on all our treatments for cosmetic dentistry click here. If you have any queries about mouth restorations, prosthodontics or require a second opinion, call us on (08) 9321 1632 or book an appointment.