Problems with veneers

Dental veneers, hailed as a go-to cosmetic remedy for achieving radiant smiles, are celebrated for their ability to enhance aesthetics and provide enduring results. Yet, this seemingly flawless solution is not immune to problems.

When placed, designed, or cared for improperly, dental veneers can introduce a spectrum of issues, compromising both the visual appeal and functional integrity of the smile.

In your pursuit of dental perfection, understanding the potential pitfalls becomes paramount to ensuring a harmonious blend of beauty and functionality.

Problems with veneers

An Introduction to Dental Veneers

Veneers consist of thin shells of durable porcelain custom-shaped to conceal cosmetic flaws of front teeth once bonded in place. By altering only the visible enamel layer, veneers improve smiles without aggressive removal of natural tooth structure.

Many people turn to veneers to:

  • Mask permanently stained, discolored or uneven teeth
  • Hide gaps, chips or worn spots
  • Correct minor crowding issues
  • Dramatically whiten smile brightness

Today’s bonding techniques mean minimal initial tooth reduction is required in many cases. When managed well by patients, veneers integrate beautifully and last 10-20 years or longer before needing replacement. However, problems can still occur either early on or years later if improper installation, materials, care or accidents transpire.

1. Common Cosmetic Veneer Problems

Improper shape, size or color are the most frequent immediate aesthetic issues with new veneer work. These aesthetic issues include:

a. Unnatural Appearance

Achieving a natural look with veneers is an art. Issues such as opacity, flatness, or a uniformly bulky appearance can compromise the desired outcome. Gumline gaps, ledges, or visible edges can also detract from the seamless integration of veneers. The lack of subtle depth and light reflection, characteristic of real tooth enamel, can further contribute to an unnatural appearance.

b. Poor Color Matching

Color discrepancies pose a significant aesthetic challenge. Failed gradients to adjacent teeth, inappropriate brightness or hue, and changes over time relative to natural teeth can result in an unsightly smile. Achieving and maintaining a harmonious color match is essential for the overall success of veneers.

c. Wrong Geometry or Angles

Veneers must complement the natural anatomy of the mouth. Issues such as unflattering length, width, or angularity can impact lip movement and speech clarity. Asymmetries with neighboring teeth alignments can compromise the overall aesthetic balance of the smile.

d. Other aesthetic concerns with veneers

  • Bulky, Boxy Look – Overly uniform teeth lacking natural imperfection nuances
  • Artificial Opacity – Flat quality unlike subtle light translucency of real enamel
  • Color Mismatch – Poor hue blending with neighboring teeth. Off white gradients.
  • Gumline Gaps – Visible ledges failing to integrate with gums
  • Lip/Speech Impact – Teeth seem too long/short, affecting movement

These problems typically require remakes to alter the veneers until patient happiness is achieved. But significant extra time, expense and enamel loss result. Meticulous planning by an expert aesthetic eye prevents such cosmetic failures.

2. Functional Bite Problems with Veneers

More seriously, poor veneer construction can disrupt oral function through:

a. Impaired Biting or Chewing

Functional problems can arise when veneers are not aligned correctly. Issues such as off contacts, premature hitting, or raised bite heights can lead to discomfort. Imbalances may result in jaw pain, headaches, or muscle discomfort, affecting the overall functionality of the teeth.

b. Durability or Structural Damage

Chipping, cracking, or fractures are common issues associated with veneers. Bonding failures leading to detached veneer units can occur, especially under excessive pressure or due to grinding. Ensuring the durability and structural integrity of veneers is crucial for long-term success.

c. Other functional concerns with veneers

  • Premature Contacts – Early hitting while chewing or loose fit later on
  • Bite Height Issues – Disrupting the jaw closing forces and angles
  • Muscle, TMJ Pain – Causing imbalance, fatigue or discomfort over time
  • Speech Impairment – Reduced clarity whistling or annunciating

This demonstrates inattention to detail confirming ideal shape through trial fittings before final cementation. Again, an experienced dentist obsesses over bite precision to avoid operational interference.

3. Underlying Tooth/Nerve Issues with Veneers

a. Sensitivity to Hot/Cold or Pressure

Sensitivity issues may arise, initially caused by the bonding preparation or underlying decay. The exposure or progression of these issues can lead to discomfort when consuming hot or cold substances.

b. Pain, Discomfort, or Odd Sensations

Various factors, including cement inflammation, exposed dentinal tubules, and nerve aggravation or damage from drilling, can contribute to pain or odd sensations. In some cases, individuals may eventually require root canal therapy to address these underlying concerns.

4. Gum/Tissue Problems with Veneers

a. Irritation, Soreness, or Swelling

Poorly fitted veneers can cause irritation, soreness, or swelling. Marginal fit issues, overhangs, or gaps can lead to chemical reactions during bonding. Additionally, problems such as food impaction and bacteria buildup may occur, impacting overall gum health.

b. Visible Recession, Shrunken/Receded Gums

Gum problems can manifest as visible recession or shrunken gums, often linked to underlying issues with poorly fitting veneer margins. This can lead to undermining bone loss and further complications.

5. Other Serious Dental Health Issues affecting Veneers

Most alarmingly, flawed veneer work jeopardizes long-term dental wellness:

  • Bonding Failure – detachment allows decay between veneer & tooth
  • Fractures or Chipping – structurally weaker units succumb to pressures
  • Sensitivity or Nerve Pain – trauma reaching inner pulp tissue over time
  • Gum Recession – ill-fitting edges allowing erosion & tissue loss

These problems may then require extensive restorative repairs like crowns or implants and are best avoided through conservative veneer planning. Thicker stronger product materials and bonded connections also minimize risks of cracks or separations long-term.

Preventing Issues with Veneers

While rarely discussed upfront beyond basic aesthetics, properly constructed conservative veneers enhance, rather than undermine, dental health. Master technicians and meticulous handling by seasoned dentists can help prevent most pitfalls. Still, problems can arise even under ideal circumstances due to accidents, grinding habits or simple aging over decades. This is why regular hygiene visits monitor for early warning signs of issues. 

Ask practices about what percentage of their veneer work requires re-dos or eventual corrections to ascertain their competency. View past smile makeover results and patient reviews. As a semi-permanent alteration with some irreversible effects, veneers warrant careful consideration to maximize enjoyment for years to come.

Final Thoughts

In summary, recognizing and addressing issues with dental veneers is crucial for maintaining both aesthetics and functionality. Ideal solutions involve meticulous cosmetic dentistry techniques and regular dental checkups, including specialized veneer inspections. The value of these measures cannot be overstated in ensuring a lasting, natural-looking smile that enhances overall oral health and well-being.


  • Editorial team

    A team comprising oral health care professionals, researchers, and professional Writers, striving to impart you with the knowledge to improve your oral health, and that of your loved ones. 

  • Lilly

    Lilly, aka, Liza Lee, is a passionate community oral health officer and our lead writer. She's not only well-versed in performing a multitude of dental procedures, including preventive, restorative, and cosmetic, but also an avid writer. Driven by the significant oral health burden all around her, Lilly strives to build capacity and promote oral health. She envisions making a lasting impact by advancing research, prevention, and promotion efforts to alleviate oral health disparities. Please share your views and opinions on my posts.

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