What Happens to a Veneer over Time?

I am getting one veneer on my severly chipped front tooth due to trauma last month. MY dentist told me it will last about 10 years. What happens to the veneer after 10 years? Does it fall off or chip? Also, is a porcelain crown stronger than a veneer?

Doctor Answers 8

What's the life span of a veneer?

Most porcelain veneers nowadays are made from porcelain that is as strong as, or stronger, than your natural tooth.  The bonding agents we use are the best they've ever been.  That being said, the weakest part of any restoration is the cement bond where the restoration (veneer, crown, filling) and the tooth meet.  As that breaks down over time, the veneer or crown could debond and either fracture or fall off, although this is quite rare.  I would always choose to prepare for a veneer over a crown as there is so much more conservation of tooth structure with a veneer prep so when it needs to be replaced in the future, you will have more tooth structure to work with. 

Chicago Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Porcelain is porcelain and can break

Everything has a life expectancy and can break and wear down. It is important to know that, but what can you do about it? I feel like it is best most of the time to conserve tooth structure and doing a crown doesn't do that. If the veneer is going to remove a significant amount of tooth structure then a 3/4 crown or full crown may be acceptable too. The only reason to do a full crown is if they are not confident about the bond and need the mechanical retention it offers, or that the bite is in a spot where the porcelain of a veneer risks being damaged. 

10 years is a good guess, but nobody knows for sure. If the veneer is bonded to a lot of enamel that can increase it's odds of lasting long.

M. Andrew Atwood, DDS
Bellevue Dentist
3.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Strength and Life Expectancy of a Veneer

The strength of the porcelain between a veneer and a crown is no different. The remaining tooth structure left after the trauma will determine how much coverage should be needed. Veneers have been on my patients teeth since the mid 80's. The average life of a veneer is 10 – 15 years. With proper care, a veneer can last indefinitely. Patient follow through as well as strict adherence to care instructions is a must! This would include no nail biting, consistent wearing of a night guard and proper home dental care. Twice yearly exams can monitor this.

Benjamin S. Fiss, DDS
Chicago Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Crowns vs. veneers

A Veneer is used when the back of the tooth is intact and retention will not be a problem due to the size of the tooth or the extent of the current decay. A crown is used when the bite is heavy or crown is short or severe decay requires more tooth structure removal. Either one will last for 10-20 years or more if well taken care of.

People who smoke, drink coffee and tea and soda or have dry mouth from medications will probably be replacing their dental work more often than those who don't have these situations.

Randall LaFrom, DDS
San Jose Dentist

Veneers can last you a very long time

Veneers are the strongest ceramic restoration that we as dentists can offer patients. In many instances, when porcelain is bonded to enamel, the strength of the tooth can actually increase! When considering veneers, it is important that your dentist makes sure that your bite protects the veneer against failure. This can happen if an opposing tooth hits the veneer "early" when chewing. If your bite is correctly adjusted, then the success rate of the veneer increases. If you're a grinder or a clencher, wearing a nightguard is an absolute necessity. Implementing a prescription-based high-strength fluoride toothpaste into your daily oral hygiene regimen will help prevent decay from forming near the veneer margin.

At some point, however, the veneer could fracture. Ceramic in the mouth is strong, but over time as our teeth are subjected to the normal stresses of chewing, a small fracture in the veneer can propagate to a large catastrophic fracture, and ultimately, failure ensues. I always use the analogy of breaking a paper clip when discussing failure of veneers to my patients: If you want to break a paper clip, you need to bend it back and forth several times until at some point, it fractures. This is because we are stressing the metal of the paper clip to a point where it can no longer handle the forces we are applying to it. Ultimately, the metal becomes too weak to resist these forces, which in turn causes it to fracture.

The veneer option is the best option we can provide--it is long-lasting, esthetic and durable. Good Luck!

Why does a Veneer fail?

Porcelain Veneers are my favorite solution to most dental problems when appropriate. They are also the longest lasting restoration in my arsenal except cast gold. When placed properly, Veneers should be durable and esthetic. Over time the gum will recede on some people with any restoration, but it is less noticeable with a veneer.

Mickey Bernstein, DDS
Memphis Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

10-20 Years is a normal lifespan for Veneers..

Nothing will happen to the older veneer. It starts getting decay around it and usually the gum recedes a little in that amount of time so it fails cosmeticallly. I've had mine for 20 years and I still get complements..

Michael J. Thomas, DDS
Los Angeles Dentist
3.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Porcelain veneers can last a very long time

If there is enough tooth structure remaining, a veneer is a great option.  If you grind your teeth, then the veneer could chip, but so could a crown.  Since tooth structure still remains, enamel could decay and get a cavity, so it is still important to brush and floss like normal.

If very little tooth structure remains, and only a dentist can determine this, then a full crown would be needed.  It isn't any better than a veneer, but has more surface area to hold onto.

If done well, the veneer should last a very long time.  However, nothing in dentistry lasts forever and if you are very young you should be aware that it will very likely need to be replaced over time.

Lance Timmerman, DMD, MAGD
Seattle Dentist
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.