Maintaining a confident smile often requires more than diligent brushing and flossing today. Cosmetic dentistry options abound to help with this, and porcelain veneers are a popular solution that can make all the difference.
Yet, while these veneers are incredibly strong, they are still susceptible to damage if not cared for properly. Knowing all you can about them, then, will make for a better experience and also help you understand how damage can occur and what you can do if and when it does.
What are Porcelain Veneers?
A porcelain veneer is a thin, fine layer of porcelain that is bonded to the enamel surface of a tooth. It looks much like your natural tooth and can match the color, size, and shape. Your dentist can even use veneers to even out your smile, shaping and resizing teeth to match and also to correct gaps between teeth.
How Damages Can Occur to Porcelain Veneers
While porcelain is known to be a strong material, it is somewhat brittle and susceptible to damage. While normal everyday activities, such as eating and speaking, do not increase the risks, the application of a little too much pressure or force can cause porcelain veneers to chip, crack, or break. Such force or pressure may even affect the bonding adhesive, causing the veneer to slip off the tooth entirely.
Damages can occur to your porcelain veneers for any of the following reasons:
- Biting down or chewing on hard objects, such as ice chips, nuts, and hard candy
- Using your teeth as a tool, such as to open packages
- Bruxism, the clenching and grinding of your teeth at night as you sleep
- Formation of decay beneath the veneer, often forming on one side of the tooth and breaking the bond
What To Do If My Porcelain Veneers Are Damaged
It may not be easy to recognize when a porcelain veneer is damaged unless there is a visible crack or chipping or it disengages entirely from the surface of your tooth. When any of these do happen, however, you will need to contact your dentist for an appointment.
Porcelain veneers, unfortunately, are not repairable. When damage occurs, they will need replacement. Your dentist can closely examine the tooth with the damaged veneer and also the adjacent veneers (if you have them) to determine if more than one is damaged and needs replacing. You will only need to replace those that have damage, and all others can remain with no change.
The replacement procedure involves your dentist removing the damaged veneer, cleaning the tooth structure underneath, and then taking a new set of digital impressions.
A review of your dental records should show the details of your previous veneers, including color shading and any adjustment for size or shape to match that particular tooth. From there, your dentist works with a technician to create a replacement veneer to match the other teeth or veneers still in your mouth.
Before leaving the office, a temporary veneer will be put in place, and you will wear this until the dental lab can make the new veneer to your specifications. You may need to wear the temporary one for a few weeks.
However, if you have a veneer that fell off and it is still in good shape, your dentist will most likely be able to re-bond it to your tooth, saving you both time and money overall.
How To Prevent Damage to a Porcelain Veneer
There are some straightforward actions you can take to care for your veneers and prevent damage, and therefore prolong their lifespan. These include the following.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Veneers can only adhere to strong, healthy teeth, so practicing good oral hygiene will be beneficial over the long term. Limit the development and accumulation of tooth decay and the risk of developing gum disease by brushing and flossing daily. You may also want to find a mouthwash that helps with this also.
Avoid Using Your Teeth as Tools
Avoid using your teeth to quickly open bags and packages, hold something in place such as hair pins, or cut through threads or strings. By using your teeth as a convenient tool, you risk causing damages to your porcelain veneers and other dental work as well.
Wear a Custom-Made Nightguard
If you suspect you might be clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth at night, mention this to your dentist, who can look for signs of specific wear and tear. If found, a custom-made nightguard to fit your mouth will help prevent further damage to your teeth and safeguard your veneers while you sleep.
Regularly Schedule Dental Exams and Cleanings
To keep teeth healthy and veneers in place, regularly schedule cleanings and exams with your dental office. The professional cleanings can get into those hard-to-reach places and remove any lingering bacteria, plaque, or decay. During exams, your dentist can check the veneers to make sure they are not damaged and also check for any issues that can affect your overall oral health.
Find Out More About Porcelain Veneers at South Dayton Smiles
The addition of porcelain veneers can make all the difference to your smile. Whether you would like to learn more about them, how to care for the ones you already have, or believe you currently have a damaged porcelain veneer, contact our patient-dedicated team here at South Dayton Smiles today to schedule an appointment.