Interested in veneers? You’re not alone. The Oral Health Foundation’s most recent report showed that treatments such as veneers were the most commonly asked for dental treatment during the course of a year.
However, if you're considering having veneers put on your teeth, you're probably wondering if it’s worth it. After all, how long do veneers last?
The answer isn’t so simple. It really depends on the quality of the veneers, how well you take care of them, and how often you eat and drink acidic foods and drinks. Generally speaking, though, veneers can last anywhere from five to 15 years.
However, as mentioned above, there are a lot of factors that can affect the duration of your veneers. Follow along as we help you understand what different types of veneers are available, how to take care of them, and how long they ultimately last.
What Are Veneers?
Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain or plastic that are bonded to the front surfaces of teeth. They can be used to improve the appearance of teeth that are chipped, stained, or slightly misaligned. Veneers are also sometimes used to close small gaps between teeth.
All in all, they’re an effective way to improve the appearance of your smile by correcting misshapen, discolored, or slightly misaligned teeth.
And, the best part is that you don’t need to entirely redo your smile (in most cases). You will usually only need to apply veneers to the teeth that show when you smile, which is typically around six to 10 teeth.
Placing veneers is generally a two-visit procedure. During the first visit, your dentist will prepare your teeth by removing a small amount of enamel from their front surface. This is necessary in order to make room for the veneer and ensure that it lies flat against your tooth.
Next, impressions of your teeth will be taken and sent off to a dental laboratory where a team of specialists will custom make your veneers to fit your teeth and the shape of your smile and face.
Once your permanent veneers are ready, you will return to the dentist's office for a second visit where they will be bonded to your natural teeth.
Getting to Know the Different Types of Veneers
Now that you know what veneers are, it’s time to start considering the type of veneer that you’d like. While this might not seem like a big decision, the type of veneer you choose directly impacts how long they last.
There are several different types of veneers available, and the right option for you will depend on your specific needs. Here is a closer look at some of the most popular types of veneers.
Porcelain veneers are one of the most popular types of veneers. They’re made from a type of porcelain that is very similar to the porcelain used in dental crowns. And, as you might imagine, porcelain is pretty strong.
While porcelain veneers are super durable, they definitely aren’t indestructible. They are, however, more durable than ceramic veneers. As a result, porcelain veneers are often considered to be more durable and lifelike than ceramic veneers.
However, they are also more expensive. Ceramic veneers are made from a type of ceramic that is less durable than porcelain. However, they are less expensive and easier to repair if they become damaged.
What do we mean when we say less expensive? It’s relative and depends on the dentist you visit and the number of teeth you’re getting veneers for.
With all of these factors in mind, the average cost of getting porcelain veneers in the United States is typically between $1,000 and $2,000 per tooth. However, it is important to speak with your dentist to get a more accurate estimate based on your specific situation.
Overall, it’s important to note that porcelain veneers last the longest. On average, porcelain veneers will last for up to 15 years before they need to be replaced. However, this can vary depending on how well you take care of them.
If you take good care of your porcelain veneers, they can even last for 20 years or more. And, they come with the added perks of having more color options to choose from in addition to a translucence that makes them look very natural.
Now, let’s dive into ceramic veneers. These are extremely similar to porcelain veneers, just slightly less durable and a bit cheaper. What are the differences between ceramic and porcelain veneers?
Ceramic veneers are cheaper and they require less preparation of the tooth. And, the material that they are made out of is usually zirconia which is bio-inert and resistant to bacterial infections.
In terms of the time required to prep the tooth, this is an immediate and long-term benefit. Why? You don’t have to shave down the enamel of the tooth in preparation for ceramic veneers as much as you might with porcelain veneers.
So, if your teeth are very fragile or you’re worried about the long-term look of your natural teeth in a few decades, ceramic veneers might make more sense. However, do note that they might not last as long as porcelain veneers.
How long do ceramic veneers last? On average, they last about 10 years.
Composite veneers refer to composite resin veneers, which are pretty different from ceramic and porcelain veneers. This type of veneer lasts the least amount of time, with composite resin veneers lasting an average of four to eight years.
They’re also made quite differently. Composite veneers are made from a composite resin material, which is a mixture of plastic and glass. They are much thinner than porcelain veneers and so they require less preparation of the tooth.
They can be placed on top of the existing tooth structure or they can be used to build up the tooth. In some places, you might also hear this type of veneer called “composite bonding” or “direct bonding.”
The procedure usually takes one or two visits to the dentist. First, the dentist will clean your teeth and then roughen up the surface of your teeth with an acidic solution. This will help the composite resin material bond to your teeth.
Then, the composite resin material is placed on your teeth and shaped to the desired look. Once the composite resin dries, it is hardened with ultraviolet light. Finally, the composite resin is polished to match the shine of your natural teeth.
While this might sound like less hassle, it’s ultimately not as long-term of a fix as regular veneers. The resin used can break down and chip a lot easier than porcelain and ceramic. This is why they don’t tend to last as long.
What to Know About Veneer Maintenance
Hopefully, by now, you have a good idea of the type of veneer you’re interested in. We’ve established that porcelain veneers last the longest, followed by ceramic veneers, and then the third option of composite resin veneers (or composite bonding).
However, depending on your dental care and oral health over the years, you’ll be able to make each option last as long as possible. Here’s what to know about veneer maintenance in order to get the most out of the life of your veneers.
Brush & Floss Regularly
You’ll want to brush and floss your veneers as you would your natural teeth! This means brushing at least twice daily (or more if you drink or eat products that can stain your teeth over time).
A few things to keep in mind are:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush as a hard toothbrush, as this can damage the veneers.
- Use a gentle circular motion when brushing. This will help to avoid scratching the veneers.
- Be sure to brush lightly around the gum line. Veneers can be sensitive, so it's important not to brush too hard.
- When flossing, be careful not to tug or pull on the veneers. Instead, gently guide the floss between the teeth.
The last point is particularly helpful and important. Veneers close the gaps in teeth in some cases, so you don’t want to tug too hard on the floss. Instead, push it through one side of your gums and pull it out the other (instead of pulling down on it).
Avoid Chewing Extremely Hard Food
While both porcelain and ceramic veneers are pretty durable, it’s still a good idea to avoid chewing hard food.
Some hard foods to avoid include hard candy, nuts, and ice. You should also avoid chewing on hard objects such as pens or pencils. If you eat hard foods, you should brush your teeth afterward to remove any food particles that could cause damage to your veneers.
If you must chew hard foods then chew with your back teeth (which likely don’t have veneers anyway) to distribute the pressure a bit more evenly.
Visit Your Dentist Every Six Months
Just because you’ve gotten veneers doesn’t mean you can stop visiting the dentist!
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that adults visit the dentist at least once every six months for a professional cleaning and examination.
However, some people may need to visit more frequently if they have certain risk factors for dental problems, such as gum disease or tooth decay.
Ultimately, how often you visit the dentist should be based on your individual needs and risks. If you have any concerns, be sure to talk to your dentist that applied the veneers so that you can develop a plan that's right for you.
Be Gentle With Your Teeth
Overall, the key to veneer maintenance is treating your teeth with care. This includes avoiding hard foods that can crack your veneers, but it also just means being gentle with your teeth in general.
Avoid grinding your teeth. If you tend to grind your teeth when you sleep then we suggest getting a mouthguard to sleep with.
It’s also important to brush and floss regularly along with avoiding any foods that damage or stain your teeth. Yes, this includes avoiding coffee and wine as much as possible. While porcelain and ceramic veneers are generally stain-proof, they can stain over time.
Simply show your teeth some love and brush them after drinking coffee, wine, or tea. And, be gentle with your teeth when eating or sleeping. By following those tips and the others mentioned above, you’ll be able to make your veneers last as long as possible.
So, How Long Do Veneers Last?
Thinking about getting veneers? Ultimately, as you've hopefully learned by reading this guide, when it comes to the question of “how long do veneers last,” it depends on the type of veneers, the dentist applying them, and how well you take care of them.
With proper care, veneers can last for many years. However, they are not indestructible and can be damaged by biting or chewing hard objects, or by using your teeth as tools (for example, to open a bottle).
Additionally, veneers can become stained over time just like natural teeth, so it’s important to brush and floss regularly and avoid coffee, tea, and red wine. If you take good care of your veneers, you can enjoy their benefits for many years to come.
This means from about four to eight years for composite veneers. For ceramic and porcelain veneers it means between 10 to 15 years. However, with proper care for porcelain veneers, they can even last up to 15 to 20 years!
Transform Your Smile
If you’re considering veneers, we suggest you speak with a qualified dentist who can assess your teeth and individual case. For that, we suggest Meng Dentistry. We can help you understand the question of how long veneers last while providing top-tier service and professionalism.
We offer comprehensive dental care all under one roof. That means we make our own dental implants, so no third party or off-site location is used. This results in lower costs and fewer doctors.
We’re eager to help you transform your smile through veneers or other dental procedures. Schedule your appointment today to start your smile journey with Meng Dentistry.