If you are familiar with how veneers work, you should know that they are excellent choices for smile makeovers. One of the most common questions we receive at Dental Designs about veneers is what happens to teeth under porcelain veneers — will they rot, be ruined or suffer damage? The good news is when fitted properly by an experienced dentist, veneers will not harm your teeth and your teeth will stay strong and healthy — although that largely hinges on your oral hygiene.
In this article, we’ll discuss the impact of veneers on teeth, the advantages of having porcelain veneers and how to avoid tooth decay with veneers.
Do veneers compromise natural teeth?
Veneers are designed to address common cosmetic issues such as discoloured/stained teeth, broken teeth, gapped teeth and misaligned teeth, which if unaddressed might cause dental issues in future. Often, patients think veneers might harm their teeth in the long run due to how they work. In order to effectively place veneers on your teeth, some of the tooth’s surface has to be partially removed as part of the tooth preparation process. Typically, about 0.5mm of enamel is required.
At Dental Designs, we always prefer to take the most conservative option to achieve your aesthetic goals. Therefore, if your concerns are mostly about the colour of your teeth, whitening alone might be sufficient to meet your goals.
Once the preparation is done, your custom-designed porcelain veneers are bonded to the tooth’s surface with a highly adhesive material known as bonding cement, which hardens under a special type of light. The veneer then clings tightly onto your tooth, which not only covers up any existing imperfections but protects your tooth from bacteria that can cause tooth decay.
Patients do not have to worry about the adhesive material used to bond veneers to teeth as it is not harmful. Secondly, porcelain veneers are not made up of enamel-like natural teeth. This provides two advantages:
- They do not stain like natural teeth, even from strong staining agents like coffee or tea
- They are extremely durable1, which means they are more resistant to damage than natural teeth. At Dental Designs, our veneers are made of the finest ceramics fabricated from natural high-purity feldspar found in Sweden and Norway.
What are the benefits of porcelain veneers?
Whiter and brighter teeth
Our teeth will inevitably discolour over time due to factors like ageing, smoking and our diet. While teeth whitening is an option for those who desire whiter teeth, is it not suitable for everyone and must be done regularly to prevent stains from reappearing. Porcelain veneers2, on the other hand, are largely stain resistant and maintain their pristine colour for years.
Correct minor cosmetic dental issues
If you have slightly crooked or gapped teeth and do not wish to go through the process of undergoing braces or Invisalign, porcelain veneers can do the job. But instead of changing the position of your teeth as with orthodontics, what veneers does is to cover the front surface of teeth so your teeth appear straight.
Protect tooth enamel
Bacteria and acid from food can damage tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay over time. Excessive teeth grinding can also cause damage to the enamel and even lead to fractures or chips in the teeth. Veneers help cover damaged or weakened teeth and offer additional protection against tooth decay. However, even with veneers on, it is recommended to practice good oral hygiene and prevent grinding your teeth to preserve the longevity of your veneers.
What steps can I take to prevent tooth decay?
Firstly, practising good oral hygiene is imperative. Brush and floss at least twice everyday — many patients neglect to floss regularly, but not doing so can actually cause decay to build up between the teeth. Once this happens, the decay attacks the natural tooth enamel at the ends of the veneer and causes a cavity. As cavities under cosmetic restorations often go unnoticed, most patients do not realise they have one until they experience discomfort. At this stage, the cavity will threaten the long term health of your teeth and potentially shorten the lifespan of your veneer.
It is also recommended to see your dentist every six months for dental checkups and cleanings to ensure that your veneers are in pristine condition. Your oral hygiene habits do not change with cosmetic restorations on and should even be stepped up to ensure their longevity.
If you are considering porcelain veneers to treat any physical and/or aesthetic issues with your teeth, our experienced dentists can help.
- Beier, U. S., Kapferer, I., Burtscher, D., & Dumfahrt, H. (2012). Clinical performance of porcelain laminate veneers for up to 20 years. The International journal of prosthodontics, 25(1), 79–85.
- Layton, D. M., & Clarke, M. (2013). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the survival of non-feldspathic porcelain veneers over 5 and 10 years. The International journal of prosthodontics, 26(2), 111–124. https://doi.org/10.11607/ijp.3202