Getting porcelain veneers in Beverly Hills is a major investment, but if you want to understand their true value, you have to consider how long porcelain veneers last.
There are plenty of cheaper alternatives in the world of cosmetic dentistry, but they don’t maintain their integrity for nearly as long as porcelain. The durability of porcelain is unrivaled in dentistry.
When you weigh the true cost of ownership, porcelain veneers remain the best option for people with aesthetic imperfections like chips, cracks, stained teeth, gaps between teeth, and discolored teeth.
How Long Do Porcelain Veneers Last?
Traditionally, porcelain veneers are recognized for having an average lifespan of 10 to 15 years. However, with the optimal care, your porcelain veneers may last as long as 20 years. Other types of permanent veneers don’t come close to this level of longevity.
To get the maximum life from your veneers, it’s important to ensure that:
The veneers are made from an extremely high-quality porcelain material.
The veneers are placed by a skilled cosmetic dentist (improper placement can cause the veneers to crack).
The veneers are properly cared for (more on that later).
The underlying teeth are sturdy and healthy.
You visit the dentist twice a year for cleanings and checkups.
Leading cosmetic dentists prefer porcelain over other types of veneers because it’s second to none in terms of durability and stain resistance. Not only does porcelain last longer, but it’s less prone to chipping and breaking, and it’s virtually stain-proof. It also closely resembles the look of natural tooth enamel.
If you decide to go with a less durable alternative, you’ll need to replace your dental veneers far more often. Consider that composite veneers last 5 to 7 years on average while no-prep veneers (like Lumineers) last 10 to 15 years with proper care and the optimal oral hygiene routine.
Are Porcelain Veneers Safe for the Teeth?
Many patients are concerned about the safety of porcelain veneers. After all, what’s the benefit of having long-lasting veneers if they can potentially ruin the teeth themselves? The good news is that porcelain veneers are perfectly safe when placed by a qualified, experienced cosmetic dentist like Dr. Glosman.
Much of the concern surrounds the preparation process. In order to prepare the teeth for veneers, the dentist must shave a thin layer of enamel. This allows the veneer to be placed in a way that’s flush with the other teeth. Without this prep work, the veneer would stick out and look unnatural.
In most cases, the dentist only needs to shave a razor thin layer of enamel from the front of the tooth, usually about .5mm. The process is quick and easy, and it doesn’t affect the tooth root or cause physical damage to the tooth. The dentist generally uses a local anesthetic to minimize discomfort during this portion of the procedure.
When the new veneer is cemented onto the tooth, the tooth is actually better-protected than it was before the veneer placement. Any discomfort from the initial tooth shaving will dissipate in a few days, and you won’t be any more susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease, or tooth loss than you were prior to the veneer placement.
Why Porcelain Veneers Last Longer
Ceramic materials like porcelain have been used in dentistry for more than 200 years, and for good reason. Porcelain veneers last longer because they’re better equipped to endure the inevitable daily abuse to which teeth are prone. Porcelain is harder than natural tooth enamel, so it’s able to withstand a lot of abuse while still maintaining its integrity.
To understand why porcelain is the gold standard, it helps to understand what makes this ceramic material unique.
There are actually three types of porcelain that may be used to craft veneers and other dental restorations:
Feldspathic porcelain. This is a quartz-based construction that has been used as a basis for porcelain veneers for decades.
Glass leucite porcelain. This ceramic-glass composite can be used for porcelain veneers but is more common in dental crowns and bridges.
Zirconium porcelain. This consists of tooth-colored zirconium dioxide, a ceramic byproduct made from zirconium and oxygen. Zirconium porcelain may be covered in feldspathic porcelain to create a durable, natural-looking restoration.
Dental laboratories use these types of high-grade porcelain to create veneers that hold their shape and remain firm under intense stress. The veneers are cemented onto the teeth for an immovable seal, ensuring years of dependable support.
Lumineers are also made from a type of porcelain (Cerinate), but the material is much thinner and therefore more prone to wear and breakage. Patients choose Lumineers because their razor-thin construction eliminates the need for tooth shaving. The downside, though, is that they’re not as tough.
Composite resin veneers are the least durable type of veneer as they’re made from layers of tooth-colored filling material.
How to Make Porcelain Veneers Last
Porcelain veneers can last up to 15 to 20 years, but only with proper care. In order to get the most use out of your restoration, you need to follow some basic oral care guidelines.
Brush your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, preferably a prescription-strength variety that’s formulated for veneers. Avoid any toothpaste that contains baking soda, peroxide, or other whitening agents.
Floss every day. Plaque can accumulate along the edges of veneers and on surrounding teeth, potentially leading to problems down the line.
Avoid compulsive chewing behaviors. Don’t chew on pencils, fingernails, ice cubes, or any other hard objects.
Avoid hard candy and other excessively hard foods.
Use a bite guard (mouth guard) if you struggle with grinding your teeth at night.
Avoid cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Visit your dentist right away if you have issues with your veneer(s) or overall oral health.
Most importantly, don’t skip your bi-annual dental care appointments. You should see your dentist once a year for a basic checkup and once for a cleaning.
Do Veneers Last Longer Than Crowns?
If your cosmetic dentist recommends a porcelain crown, you may need to get it replaced sooner than you would a veneer. But with optimal care, you can still enjoy years of dependable use.
A crown has a similar aesthetic function to a veneer (improving the appearance of a natural tooth), but it’s designed to provide more structural support for a tooth that is weak or damaged. Rather than covering the front of the tooth like a mask, it fits over the entire tooth like a cap.
A crown will typically last between 5 and 15 years. With optimal care, it can last nearly as long as a high-quality porcelain veneer, but this isn’t guaranteed. The good news is that, because a crown isn’t a cosmetic procedure, a good dental plan may cover about 50% of the cost on average. So while the cost of a crown is comparable to the cost of a veneer, you may ultimately pay far less if your dentist advises it to preserve your tooth.
Can Porcelain Veneers Last a Lifetime?
With optimal care, it is possible for porcelain veneers to last a lifetime. However, this should not be the expectation. In most cases, you’ll need to replace your veneers once or twice in your lifetime. The good news is that the replacement is quick and easy. The dentist simply removes the old veneer, takes new impressions of the tooth to send to a lab, and then places the new veneer as soon as it’s ready. Minor prep work may also be required.
In the unlikely event that a porcelain veneer cracks or becomes damaged, it will generally need to be replaced. Broken porcelain veneers cannot be repaired to their original condition in most cases. Thankfully, this type of damage is extremely rare given the amazing durability of porcelain veneers.
When Do Veneers Need to Be Replaced?
Once your porcelain veneer nears the end of its lifespan, or if it breaks, it will need to be replaced. The following are just a few of the signs that it’s time to replace your veneers:
They begin to look dull and no longer shine like the surrounding teeth
The veneers become discolored
They show physical signs of wear
They become cracked or chipped
The bonding cement becomes loose or the veneers start to lift
The real teeth underneath develop cavities or signs of decay
You notice signs of gum recession
If you consistently go for your bi-annual dental appointments, your dentist should be able to detect when it’s time to replace—even if you haven’t noticed any issues yet.
When the day arrives, the dentist will carefully remove the old veneer along with a tiny layer of enamel. Then they’ll take impressions for your replacement veneer and provide you with a temporary veneer to hold you over until the new restoration is complete. Then they’ll bond the new veneer to your tooth just like before.
If your tooth no longer has sufficient enamel to support a new veneer, the dentist may recommend a crown in its place.
Porcelain Veneers Are Well Worth the Investment
Porcelain veneers are among the longest-lasting and most durable dental restorations available. While the initial investment may seem significant, the total cost of ownership is actually quite low as long as you care for your veneers.
If you achieve the maximum lifespan, a quality porcelain veneer can actually cost less than $50 per year in many cases. It’s a small price to pay for a radiant, beautiful smile that boosts your confidence and turns heads.
If you have additional questions, schedule a consultation. There’s no obligation to commit to the procedure, but you’ll be able to find out if you’re a good candidate for veneers and will feel more confident about whether they’re right for you.