With their ability to reshape, resize, and recolor your teeth quickly, porcelain veneers are a popular choice for improving the appearance of your smile. But how do these thin covers impact the health of your natural teeth below them? Are veneers ultimately helpful or harmful to the teeth they conceal?
Veneers themselves do not directly damage natural teeth, but poor-quality application or follow-up care can. For instance, low-grade veneer materials that are thickly applied can encourage bacteria and cracks that jeopardize the real tooth underneath. Similarly, excess grinding of enamel during tooth preparation may leave the teeth sensitive and prone to decay.
With regard to post-veneer care, your failure to maintain rigorous home oral hygiene may allow cavity-causing plaque to accumulate around veneer edges and permeate underneath, leading to problems. Moreover, ignoring any loosening of the veneers may lead to food packing in, causing decay. If you’re prone to teeth grinding or jaw clenching, your veneers may chip or pop off, resulting in direct impacts against the unprotected sensitive tooth.
By selecting an expert cosmetic dentist and adhering closely to oral care instructions and routine checkups, dental veneers can sustain and protect teeth beautifully. But quality and diligence are vital—poor execution and aftercare can enable issues to go unnoticed until larger, irreparable inner-tooth trouble emerges. Protect your investment through meticulous home hygiene and follow-up.
What are Porcelain Veneers?
Veneers are super-thin pieces of porcelain custom-made to fit over the fronts of your teeth. They are an option for those wanting to:
- Correct small, unevenly sized or oddly shaped teeth
- Close annoying gaps between teeth
- Repair chipped or worn teeth
- Hide permanent stains or discoloration
- Straighten mildly crooked teeth without braces
The veneers process involves slight reshaping of the natural teeth’s surface enamel so the veneers can sit smoothly without bulky edges. An adhesive is used to permanently bond the veneers in place for a seamless new appearance.
Do Veneers Hurt Your Teeth?
When done properly, high quality porcelain or ceramic veneers are unlikely to damage the natural teeth below them. Enamel is preserved since little needs to be removed for placement. With care to avoid putting excessive stress on the veneers and injury to your teeth, you can have an improved smile without harming tooth integrity.
In fact, well-made veneers protect vulnerable areas of damaged teeth and can stall the need for crowns or dental work later on. Their smooth surface resists new stains or decay. With diligent home care, veneers sustain tooth function for 10-30 years.
Why Some Worry Veneers Hurt Teeth
Concerns sometimes arise over veneers due to issues like:
Excess Tooth Reduction
Aggressively shaving too deeply under veneers permanently removes protective enamel. This leaves teeth prone to temperature sensitivity, decay and pulp damage. Conservative reduction preserves enamel and is the standard of care.
Poor Quality Materials
Inferior veneer materials that are thick, opaque or porous are more likely to crack, leak and harbor bacteria that could penetrate the underlying tooth. High standards in fabrication minimize risks.
Improper bonding can allow leak channels causing decay between veneer and tooth. Decay may go undetected, further destroying tooth structure. Proper cementing technique prevents gaps that allow bacteria in.
Ideal Candidates for Protective Veneers
The best candidates for veneers have most of the following traits:
- Healthy teeth and gums free of advanced periodontal disease
- Sufficient enamel thickness
- No serious grinding or clenching habits
- Good oral hygiene practices
Those with excessive decay, bruxism issues, gum disease or insufficient enamel are better treated through dental fillings, crowns or orthodontics instead to stabilize oral health before considering veneers.
Caring for Your Veneers
To sustain veneer integrity and longevity while avoiding harm to underlying teeth:
Maintain vigorous oral hygiene
Brush carefully along veneer edges and floss thoroughly underneath them daily. See your hygienist for 3-6 month cleanings.
Use nightguards and stress relievers to protect veneers from fracture-causing pressure.
Avoid using teeth as tools
Prevent damage from bites, cracks or pops-offs by not tearing bags, cracking nuts or removing bottle tops with your teeth.
Follow-up promptly if a veneer feels loose or rough.
Early intervention for minor damage protects the natural tooth from worsening issues.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Consistent exams every 6 months allow monitoring below veneers for subtle signs of problems like micro-leakage or decay between the veneer and tooth before irreversible damage occurs. Updates like sealants and antimicrobials also bolster preservation.
Veneers Give You Reason to Smile
In the hands of a meticulous, conservative dentist, dental veneers offer not only sheer beauty but also protection and fortification to the teeth they cover. Rather than hurting your teeth, proper veneers act as lustrous armor against the environment. Be vigilant with home care and professional cleanings so these facade enhancements guard your natural teeth for decades to come.