Although porcelain veneers typically last for at least 10 years, that in itself offers no guarantee of longevity. Indeed, under circumstances where the external force applied by an action such as biting exceeds the internal strength of the porcelain itself, chipped veneers can occur at any point. You have to know what to do if your veneers crack or chip. Otherwise, you might wanna see your dentist to get them fixed right away.
In some cases, prior to any chip occurring, it may be possible to identify potential structural flaws in the surface of a veneer. For example, a sudden increase in sensitivity may signal that infection-causing bacteria have penetrated invisible imperfections in the veneer to gain access to the underlying tooth. Under other circumstances, an incipient problem may be identified visually if the veneer is examined under the correct light.
In the event of chipped veneers, the first step of action is to remove the porcelain fragments from your mouth. At this point, it’s worth reassuring oneself that there’s no immediate threat to the underlying tooth. That said, it’s possible that there may be some inconvenient complications to deal with. Increased sensitivity may ensue or the sharp edges of the chipped veneer may cause irritation. Fortunately, the irritation can be relieved by coating the irregular surface of the chipped veneer with dental wax.
In any event, a visit to a dental clinic will be necessary so that one of a number of interventions can be pursued. A dentist may elect to fill the chip with a composite material. However, while this treatment option is quick and inexpensive, that doesn’t disguise the fact that it also entails a number of drawbacks. Firstly, the composite material is more prone to staining and may, therefore, appear conspicuous. Secondly, if the procedure is conducted in an area exposed to especially high biting forces it may precipitate future issues. Finally, this treatment option is a decidedly short term intervention.
In the case of a minor chip occurring the dentist may opt instead to buff the damage out. Again, however, this option is less than ideal. The buffing procedure partially removes the stain-resistant outer layer of a veneer to expose an interior layer which is notably more prone to staining. Moreover, under certain circumstances, the surrounding teeth may need to be recontoured in order to preserve dental symmetry.
Given the drawbacks associated with both buffing and composite fillers, the dentist may recommend that the veneer should be replaced altogether.
If chips recur then it may pay to seek a second opinion. Veneers which are poorly placed or composed of inferior materials are at an increased risk of breaking. Moreover, as is the case for people with temporomandibular joint disorder or bruxism a veneer may simply represent an unsuitable option. Indeed in such scenarios, a dental crown may serve as a more viable alternative to a veneer.
Lastly, in order to limit the recurrence of chipped veneers, a sensible precaution is to note the nature of the activity which preceded the breakage and to attempt to modify future behavior so as to reduce the risk of damage.