Porcelain veneers last a long time, mostly. But although more than 95% last ten years or more, eventually you might suffer a broken one. However, there’s no need to panic–here’s what you do.
Treat the Veneer with Care
First, it’s important to get the pieces out of your mouth. You don’t want to swallow them or break them further by biting down on them. If there’s just one piece, examine it carefully. If it’s smooth in shape and symmetrical, it might have come off in one piece and can be rebonded. If there are multiple pieces, or if the piece is jagged and uneven, the veneer likely broke, and we’ll have to replace it. An inspection of the tooth where the veneer came from can also tell you if it broke or came unbonded. If there are pieces of veneer still clinging to your tooth, then the veneer broke.
Sharp edges of the broken veneer may irritate your cheek or tongue. To stop this, you can pick up some dental wax at the drug store. It helps people with braces avoid irritation from wires, and it works just as well for broken veneers, chipped teeth, and more.
Contact Your Dentist
If the dentist that placed the veneers is still practicing in a convenient location for you, and you’ve been happy with their work, contact them about the broken veneer. Hopefully, they should try to get you an appointment quickly. Remember, this isn’t a medical emergency, but if you have reasons why you might need the veneer replaced quickly, make that clear.
If you’re experiencing sensitivity where the veneer broke, coating the area with dental wax can help insulate your tooth.
Consider Your Options
Once you get your dental appointment, you have to decide how you want to proceed. There are many options, depending on how the veneer broke off.
Rebond: If you were lucky and the veneer came off whole, we can quickly and easily bond it back in place.
Repair: If the damage to a veneer is minor, there are a couple of potential repair options. First, we can repair the veneer the way we might repair a chipped tooth, with dental bonding. This isn’t a long-term option, but in some cases it can be a short-term fix. For really minor damage, we might buff out the damage. This is also not a great option, because the surface of the veneer is designed with special stain resistance and luster that may be hard to reproduce on the damaged part.
Replace: This is what is normally necessary when you break a porcelain veneer. We will remove the last of the old veneer and replace it with a new veneer. You might also consider whether you want to replace other veneers if these are not looking their best.
If You Keep Breaking Veneers . . .
If you break multiple porcelain veneers in a relatively short time frame, it’s time to reconsider. The veneers may have been poorly placed by your dentist or may not be a high quality material. You should talk to a second dentist about your veneers and learn what might be behind the breakages.
It’s also possible that your veneers are breaking because you are developing TMJ or bruxism. This is why it’s good to work with a cosmetic dentist who is also a neuromuscular dentist.
It may be possible that for this or other reasons, dental crowns may be a better option for your restorations than porcelain veneers.
If you are looking for an expert to repair, replace, or evaluate your porcelain veneers, please call 803-781-9090 for an appointment with a Columbia, SC cosmetic dentist at Smile Columbia Dentistry.