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Cosmetic Dentistry 101 – How Long Do Veneers Last?

Porcelain Veneers
Porcelain Veneers

Almost every patient that comes to see me about getting a beautiful smile sooner or later asks “How long do porcelain veneers last?” This is a very valid question everyone should ask, but let me answer it here for everyone as a reference.

Porcelain veneers, or porcelain laminates, are very thin but become bonded to the outside surface of your tooth, permanently. If the veneer is bonded to the enamel, the strong outside layer of your tooth, then we achieve a bond that is so strong that the porcelain would fracture before the bond would break.

Then some patients always say: “My friend has veneers and some of them just popped off”. Well, if that happens then the veneers were not bonded on correctly. I can honestly say I have only seen this happen once about 10 years ago on a patient in California that I worked on, and the reason the veneer popped off was because there was a manufacturers error in one of the bonding solutions. We corrected it and it never happened again. So if veneers are coming off then there is a problem with the bond, usually.

To really give a better answer to “How long do veneers last?” I usually describe how veneers fail.

Veneers today are made out of incredibly strong porcelain. This porcelain is bonded to the tooth structure, as we discussed, permanently. So, the only way to “break” the veneer would be via an accident like a fall, or biting on a fork. Anything that would break your natural teeth will break the veneer. Secondly, veneers need to function properly. If you grind or clench your teeth then you need to wear a nightguard. People wear teeth down to nothing by grinding all night long. Also, teeth can break from grinding. Porcelain veneers have the same limitations as real teeth.

As we age our gum tissue recedes a little. This will expose the edge of the veneer. This is normal aging and would happen with normal teeth as well. If the veneer was blended in color wise at the gumline then it will look very natural. But, if you have super white veneers then the darker root surface will show up and it will stand out a little more.

Lastly, you still need to brush and floss or decay will creep around the veneers just like regular teeth.

That is it. So veneers, if done correctly and maintained correctly can last decades. I am personally getting ready to do my veneers, so you all can watch me go through the process as well!

I hope this helps.

Keep smiling,

Christian

posted in Blog, Cosmetic Dentistry

8 thoughts on “Cosmetic Dentistry 101 – How Long Do Veneers Last?

  1. Alex Nguyen, DDS

    Dr Hahn,

    Great info in this blog entry ! Nicely done.

    I agree with you: most of the time veneers pop off because the patient’s bite puts excess pressure on the tooth and loosen the cement bond. Hence, properly made night guards protect not only real teeth but any restoration that exists in the dentition. We can do everything in our power, but our patient’s adherence to home care is so important.

    Keep up the great work educating our patients, Dr Hahn.

    All the best,

    Alex Nguyen, DDS

  2. hahndds

    Thanks Alex!

  3. rayray

    Hi Dr. Hahn,

    A year ago, I had 4 veneers put in on my upper front teeth. Recently when I went to get my annual cleaning and my dentist has discovered a crack on one of the veneers. I went back to my cosmetic dentist and she said this is due to my grinding at night time. I don’t think I grind my teeth at night time and believe that this hairline crack already came with the veneer. I’m not quite sure what I should do? Would you please advise?

    Thanks,

    Ray

  4. hahndds

    Dear Ray,

    Warranting that I do not know your full situation, veneers usually “crack” almost immediately after seating due to the stress from curing/hardening them too quickly or after a while due to clenching or grinding. You mention that it has been a while since your veneers were placed, therefore I would reckon that the damage did come from the occlusal forces.
    In my dental practice a nightguard, or bruxism/gringing appliance is always part of the treatment plan for veneers for this exact reason. I would suggest you speak to your dentist, fix the broken veneer and get a nightguard to control the biting forces.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Chris

  5. Kacie

    I have an undersized tooth and my dentist is talking about whitening the rest of my teeth and make a veneer to match it. The idea seemed wonderful until I heard about veneers popping off. Does this happens often?

  6. hahndds

    Dear Kacie,

    A good porcelain veneer, cemented/bonded correctly, should not come off! The bond is extremely strong. That being said, you need a dentist that does veneers all the time!

    A single veneer is super challenging…I would consider using a top cosmetic dentist or maybe using a composite material that is adjustable to get a better match 🙂

    Keep smiling,

    Dr. Chris

  7. Mark Galeck

    I just had veneers placed on teeth 8 and 9, due to my natural teeth being chipped over the years. I expected my veneers to behave like my natural teeth. That is, if I were to bite over a fork, or bite nails, or bite a pit, then, the veneers might break. However, if I simply bite an apple, or an almond, or if I bite through something soft and hit my upper teeth veneers to my lower natural teeth, then I expected veneers to be OK, just like natural teeth would be OK.

    Is that true or not?

    Because, I just had veneers for several days, and I bit through a tomato and hit my upper veneer to my lower tooth and the veneer broke. It is not true that I have a “bad bite” or something like that – it is natural that the bite will not always be exactly precise and I can’t pay precise attention to the milimiter on how I bite through things. I can pay attention to pits and nails, but I can’t be expected to pay precise attention to tooth placement. If I do that I would quickly fall into nervous breakdown!

    Should the dentist have informed me that if I don’t pay precise attention to the placement of my bite and accidentally hit upper veneers on bottom teeth, then the veneers might break?

  8. chahn

    Dear Mark,

    Veneers are wonderful but not any stronger than natural teeth. I tell my patients that they are jewels, not tools 🙂 That being said, if the “function” is adjusted correctly then you should be fine. Hitting two teeth together will break one or the other, no matter if it is a veneer or real tooth structure.
    I would have this discussion with your dentist and make sure the function is correct – also, I hope you are wearing a nightguard to protect your investment!

    Cheers,

    Dr. Chris

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