Dental veneers are a great way to restore teeth that have been damaged or stained. As long as you take good care of them, gently flossing and brushing along the margins, they can last up to 15 years. Eventually, they do, however, need to be replaced. The method of replacement differs depending on the type of veneer to be replaced.

In general, there are two main types of veneer, composite and porcelain. The following will describe the methods used to replace both types.

Composite Veneers

The replacement of composite veneers is more simple than that of porcelain. Unlike porcelain veneers, which are thin shells that must be bonded to enamel, composite veneers are made of resin that is applied to teeth and then sculpted to the desired shape. Because of that, very little enamel is removed in the process.

The same is true when replacing composite veneers. If the old composite veneer is stained, for example, your dentist will simply remove the topmost layers and bond the new composite veneer to the old material. As long as your dentist is skilled at applying composite bonding, your new bonding should last approximately 5 years.

Porcelain Veneers

To replace a porcelain veneer, the dentist first needs to drill off the old veneer. Once the veneer has been removed, the dentist will then abrade the remaining bonding material from the tooth, as well as a thin layer of enamel. Before this process begins, you should inform your dentist of any changes that you would like to be carried out, such as a change to the shape or colour of the veneer.

The replacement process takes slightly longer than the initial placement since care needs to be taken not to remove too much of the remaining tooth structure. Once the tooth has been prepared, the dentist will place a temporary veneer which should last for the two weeks it takes to prepare the permanent replacement.

Dental Crowns as an Alternative

Sometimes, there might not be enough remaining enamel for a porcelain veneer to be replaced. In this case, your dentist will suggest a dental crown instead. If you were only replacing one veneer out of four, for example, this should not be a problem. Porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns are essentially the same thing, except that dental crowns cover the whole tooth.

Therefore, one porcelain crown would not look out of place beside three porcelain veneers in the smile zone. Also, ensure that you visit your dentist at least once a year for a checkup and a dental cleaning, and remember to clean your veneers with a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid decay and wear. Talk to your dentist for more information.