Once considered to be only for the likes of celebrities, dental veneers have risen in popularity in recent years as their cost has come down. When done well, this branch of cosmetic dentistry can improve the appearance of a person’s smile very quickly, restoring confidence. But how long do veneers last and what can you expect from the procedure when you make the investment into your smile?
What Are Veneers?
Dental veneers are thin shells that are used to cover the teeth, usually in order to improve their appearance. They are used most frequently in cosmetic dentistry to improve the shape, size, colour and length of individual teeth.
While they can make the teeth a little stronger veneers are a cosmetic procedure, and they are used on teeth that are
- Damaged or decayed
- Unevenly shaped
- Unevenly spaced
- Unresponsive to teeth whitening
- Cracked, worn, chipped or broken
What Types Of Veneers Are Available?
Veneers are usually crafted from porcelain and composite resin. Your dentist will consult with you and assess your smile before making a recommendation for a material, based on your lifestyle factors and personal budget.
Porcelain veneers are usually favoured by most patients because they are strong and durable, and because they mimic the way in which natural teeth reflect light. Composite resin veneers are beneficial in that they can be completed in one session, however they are known to have a shorter lifespan.
What Can You Expect When You Get Porcelain Veneers?
When you opt for porcelain, treatment usually spans more than one session. During your first session your dentist must first assess whether you are a suitable candidate for veneers. He or she will look at your teeth and listen to the concerns that you would like to cover up with dental veneers. It’s likely that you will have x-rays taken, to ensure that any issues with your teeth do not go below the gum.
Then your dentist will remove a small portion of your dental enamel from the teeth to be covered. This is to ensure that your veneers fit in your mouth, in line with the other teeth in your mouth. Once this is done your dentist will take an impression of your mouth and send it to a dental technician for the veneers to be crafted. Your dentist will ensure that the colour of your veneered teeth is the same as the other teeth in your mouth.
It can take two to four weeks for veneers to be created in a dental lab. In most cases, your dentist will apply temporary veneers until the final ones are ready. Once they are ready you will be called to return to your dentist’s office for your fitting. The temporary veneers will be removed and the porcelain veneers will be attached using dental cement.
What To Expect When Getting Composite Resin Veneers?
If you opt for composite resin veneers, the procedure can be completed in just one visit. You will still need an assessment, and some of your dental enamel will be removed. The major difference is that your dentist will make the dental veneers in the office. He or she will apply layers of composite resin on top of one another and allow them to dry, using a special light. Once they have solidified the composite resin will be shaped to resemble the other teeth in your mouth.
So How Long Do Veneers Last?
Porcelain veneers are considered the gold standard of dental veneers because they are so strong and long lasting. With proper care and regular check ups they can be expected to last between 12 and 25 years. This lifespan does come at a premium however. They are more expensive than composite resin, which is why some patients are willing to consider the alternative.
Composite resin is not as tough and durable as porcelain and most patients can expect a lifespan of between four to eight years from composite resin veneers.
The lifespan of your veneers is worth discussing with your dentist because, as mentioned above, every time you have dental veneers fitted your dentist must remove some of your tooth enamel and file your natural teeth down. If you are going to repeat this process often enough, it does cause wear on your natural teeth, so you do need to make the best long term decision for your dental health.
What Can You Do To Make Your Veneers Last Longer?
Regular visits to your dentist twice a year ensures that a professional is checking them for any signs of wear and tear. In addition, you can make sure that you are not using your teeth to
- Bite into very hard or damaging substances (like chewing ice, chewing on a pen or pencil or using your teeth to open containers and bottles)
- Biting into very sticky foods like toffee
- Wear a mouthguard if you play contact or rough sport
Also remember that veneers cannot be bleached with teeth whitening methods so it is advisable that you do not smoke.
If you want a more personalised answer to how long do veneers last, please contact us for your cosmetic dentistry needs:
Phone: (02) 9158 6213
Pyrmont NSW 2009
Phone: (02) 9158 6756
Illawong, NSW 2234
Phone: (02) 9159 6083
Sylvania Waters NSW 2224