Did you know that when veneers were invented in 1928, they were used primarily to change the appearance of actors’ teeth? As decades passed, the process was perfected and by 1982, veneers could be permanently bonded to teeth. These incredibly thin and realistic porcelain shells cover up your teeth’s imperfections, hiding chips, cracks, discoloration, irregularly shaped teeth, and even gaps and crookedness. In just two visits, your dentist can revamp your smile using this incredible technology. Of course, there are many pros and cons to consider when deciding whether or not to use veneers. A common concern, for example, is learning how to maintain veneers to ensure that they last for many years to come. For help, scroll down to learn how to care for dental veneers.
How to Care for Dental Veneers
An Overview of Veneers
Before we dig into hygiene routines and general maintenance, let’s discuss what veneers are and why they are used. Incredibly thin, custom-made shells, veneers are bonded to the front surface of a tooth to change the smile’s appearance. They are often used to fix discolored, worn down, chipped, misaligned, or irregularly shaped teeth. To apply the veneer, your dentist will need to shave off about 1/2 millimeter of your tooth’s enamel. This ensures that the veneer fits correctly and does not appear bulky. After that, the veneer is permanently bonded to the tooth.
Veneer Maintenance 101
Ready to learn how to care for dental veneers? Before you grab your notebook and pen, we’re going to let you in on a little secret: dental veneers don’t require special care. Amazing, isn’t it? Although they can completely transform your smile, veneers are so strong and sturdy that you won’t need to make any major adjustments to your oral hygiene routine. Your dentist will have more specific recommendations, of course, but don’t be surprised if he or she simply urges you to continue caring for your teeth as you always have.
To clean, protect, and maintain your dental veneers, use these three very simple tips:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Ideally, brush after every meal.
- Floss your teeth at least once a day. Ideally, floss after every meal.
- Rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash once or twice a day.
Don’t be afraid to brush or floss your veneers—they can handle the pressure! However, do choose a non-abrasive toothpaste and soft-bristled toothbrush.
Proper oral hygiene won’t just clean and protect your veneers; it will also reduce your risk of gum disease, which will prevent your gums from receding and exposing the tops of your veneers. So in a way, you’re hitting two birds with one stone! If you have any doubts regarding your brushing and flossing techniques, ask your dental hygienist or dentist for tips.
In addition, be sure to schedule regular check-ups with your dentist. Most will recommend that you stop by every six months or so for a thorough cleaning and general examination. This will give your dentist an opportunity to spot any problems with your veneers and nip potential issues in the bud. However, know that problems with veneers are uncommon. As we mentioned above, your veneers are strong and should have a very long lifespan.
A Note for Bruxers (i.e., People Who Grind Their Teeth)
If you grind your teeth, be sure to let your dentist know if he or she is not already aware. Bruxism can place a great amount of stress on your teeth, potentially damaging your veneers (as well as your natural teeth), so you may need to wear a bite guard, which is also known as an occlusal guard. The device will minimize the stress placed on your teeth while you sleep due to bruxism. Although most bruxers can still get veneers, they will need to add this extra step to their routine when learning how to care for dental veneers.
A Note for Chewers
Although veneers are extremely durable, they aren’t quite as strong as natural teeth. For this reason, we do not recommend that you chew on very hard objects, such as pens, ice, nails, bones, etc. Although it is unlikely, your veneers may chip if you chew on these or other hard objects.
Beware of Staining Agents
Although porcelain veneers resist stains, they can become stained over time just like your natural teeth. So when teaching you how to care for dental veneers, your dentist may recommend that you avoid stain-causing foods and beverages. This includes coffee, red wine, tea, dark sodas, soy sauce, berries, and more. Another common cause of discoloration is smoking, so if you smoke, consider quitting for the sake of your teeth in addition to the many health benefits involved.
After Your Appointment
After your veneers have been placed, your dentist may ask you to return to the office for an evaluation. The primary purpose of this appointment is to provide the dentist with an opportunity to examine the placement of the veneers and the condition of your gum tissue, checking to see if the gums have had a bad response to the veneers. However, this is also a prime opportunity for you to ask any questions you have regarding your veneers and the maintenance they require. Finally, if you don’t already have an appointment in your calendar, you should schedule your next dental check-up at this appointment as well.
Now that you’ve learned how to care for dental veneers, it is time to put your newfound knowledge to the test. And lucky for you, this should be an easy transition. With just a few small adjustments to your daily dental routine, you can provide your veneers with the care they need. With a little help from you and your dentist, your new veneers should last for 10-15 years to come.
Would you like a beautiful, flawless smile? For a smile makeover, contact Wilkinson Dental if you live in or near Springfield, MO. Using veneers, we can repair cracked or chipped teeth, close gaps between teeth, reduce the appearance of stains and discoloration, and correct teeth that are misshapen or uneven. So if you’re interested in enhancing your smile’s natural beauty with veneers, please give us a call at 417-708-0556 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!