Porcelain Veneers - How long do they last? / Care and precautions.
This page discusses the issue of porcelain veneer longevity, as determined by various research studies. It also outlines precautions you can take that will help to extend their lifespan.
How long will porcelain veneers last?
A number of studies have concluded that they have a good survival rate up to 10 years and beyond.
a) Layton (2007)
This study evaluated 304 porcelain veneers (100 individual patients) that had all been placed by the same dentist over the course of a 16-year period.
The survival rates reported were: 96% at 5 to 6 years, 93% at 10 to 11 years, 91% at 12 to 13 years and 73% at 15 to 16 years.
(The paper stated that the rate reported for the 15-to-16-year group was likely skewed to the downside because one person in that group, which was already only composed of a small number of restorations, was no longer available for participation in the study.)
Reasons for failure.
The three most common reasons for failure were: 31% - failed esthetics (the veneer's appearance was no longer satisfactory), 31% - structural complications (chips, cracks, etc...) and 13% - loss of retention (the veneer came off).
b) Beier (2012)
This study evaluated 318 porcelain veneers (84 individual patients) that had been placed over a 22-year period.
The survival rates reported were: 95% at 5 years, 94% at 10 years, and 83% at 20 years.
Reasons for failure.
The most common reasons given were: Fracture of the ceramic 45%, crack in the ceramic 28%, chipping 10% and debonding (veneer loss) 10%.
c) Land (2010)
This study reviewed the findings of 50 published research articles (including our Layton reference above) that evaluated the longevity of porcelain veneers.
It determined the following failure rates: 1) Less than 5% at 5 years. 2) Less than 10% at 10 years.
What can you expect?
From this information, it's easy enough to conclude that your veneer should easily last 10 years (with somewhere around a 95% survival rate). Beyond that, problems with complications become a little more common.
The process of placing porcelain veneers is somewhat technique sensitive. And probably even more important, case selection (see below) plays a substantial role in creating a successful outcome. That means your dentist's experience and skills will play a role in the expected longevity of your case.
Porcelain veneer care and precautions.
A) Practice good oral home care.
Around 6% of veneers that fail due so related to the formation of tooth decay. And about 13% due to complications with gum disease. (Bona 2008)
That means your veneered tooth, just like all of your teeth, should be brushed and flossed thoroughly on a daily basis. Ask your dentist for their recommendation but, in general, any non-abrasive toothpaste that contains fluoride should be suitable.
One reason to be extra diligent with your oral home care is related to gum line recession.
The edge of a veneer ends right at or else just below the gum line. And if it recedes enough, although your veneer is still in excellent shape, its overall appearance may be one where it needs to be replaced.
Recession can be caused by not brushing well enough, brushing too vigorously or even a habit of clenching and grinding your teeth. Your dentist should be able to help you monitor what's going on in your case.
B) Avoid excessive forces.
While durable, porcelain veneers are not strong. They're not able to withstand extreme forces.
That means you should avoid activities that direct forces to them. This would include things such as biting your fingernails, hair pins, pencils, ice, or any other hard objects. Biting into hard foods, like raw carrots, could be a concern too. If you engage in sporting events, you should wear an athletic mouthguard.
C) Avoid clenching and grinding your teeth.
Due to the excessive forces that can be created, people who clench or grind their teeth (dentists term this habit bruxism) place their veneers at increased risk. One study (Beier 2012) found failure rates for people who brux to be 8 times higher.
Some people may be able to successfully control their bruxism during their waking hours. But during sleep, that's not possible.
D) Minimize staining influences.
Due to its glass-like nature, a porcelain veneer will resist staining well. But the cement that's used to bond it in place is plastic, and it may discolor.
If it does, and this edge of the veneer is visible, its appearance will be spoiled.
Studies have reported that this type of staining (called marginal discoloration) occurs to some degree with roughly 20% of veneers. (Beier 2012)
Practicing good oral home care (meaning keeping plaque and debris from accumulating in this area) can help to prevent this problem.
Probably more important, you should minimize your exposure to staining agents such as tea, coffee, red wine, colas, and tobacco products. Beier (2012) found that people who smoke have a significantly increased risk for this type of discoloration.
E) Avoid temperature extremes.
A veneer is a sandwiched affair. It's layers of porcelain and cement bonded onto a surface of enamel.
Each of these materials will expand and contract at different rates when exposed to the same temperature extreme. And it's possible that as years pass, a point is finally reached where your veneer has become fatigued and will break or crack.