Dental veneers have helped many people achieve their ideal flawless, beautiful smile. They’re thin layers of porcelain placed over one’s teeth to cover flaws, such as discolored, broken, chipped, or gaps in their teeth, and enhance the overall appearance of their smile.
If well-maintained, dental veneers can potentially last up to fifteen years. However, although they’re very durable, they may not last long without proper maintenance. Here are some tips and best practices to follow to get the longest lifespan out of your veneers.
Practice the same oral hygiene routines as you usually would. While it’s true that dental veneers won’t decay for some time, they’re still exposed to cavities since they’re attached to your actual teeth. In other words, they can be prone to tooth decay without regularly and adequately brushing their teeth.
It’s recommended to floss first before brushing to get rid of the plaque between teeth before brushing. This is particularly important, especially if areas of your tooth behind your veneer are exposed and where cavities can likely start to take root.
Next, brush at least twice a day. For example, you may brush your teeth veneers before and after sleeping. Aim to allocate two minutes of your time to clean your teeth, gums, and tongue. Additionally, opt for a non-abrasive or soft bristle toothbrush to avoid impairing its surface polish. Finally, swish mouthwash for around 30 seconds to rinse.
Don’t Grind Your Teeth
Grinding your teeth is one of the habits that can damage your veneers. Some people may unknowingly do this while they’re asleep, so they’re recommended to wear occlusal splints. They’re commonly called bite splints, bite planes, night guards, or night splints and are made to protect teeth from grinding.
Apart from sleeping, teeth grinding is also typically done by stressed and anxious individuals. That’s why many of them tend to bite their fingernails or pencils to release tension habitually. Despite not wearing veneers, having this damaging habit can easily ruin one’s teeth. Seek professional help to cope with these negative emotions and avoid grinding your teeth.
Avoid Hard Foods
Foods that are excessively hard to chew, such as ice, hard candy, or tough meat, may also cause you to grind your teeth. If you constantly consume them, the increased biting force can likely result in cracks on your dental veneers and your natural teeth.
Other examples of jaw-breaking foods to avoid are:
- Hard candy and lollipops
- Hard fruits or vegetables, such as raw carrots, apples, or pears
- Nuts and seeds, including those that have them like Peanut M&M’s
- Popcorn, particularly unpopped kernels
- Corn on the cob
- Thick and hard chips, taco shells, or pretzels
- Non-edible items, such as fingernails, pencils, and pen caps
If you really wish to eat them, have them in smaller pieces. For example, if you’re eating an apple, cut it into chunks instead of biting on it wholly. Another, if you’re eating steak, use your knife or fork to eat it. More importantly, don’t open packets and beer bottles with your teeth.
Wear Mouth Guards When Doing Contact Sports
Always wear a mouthguard if you frequently play soccer, boxing, wrestling, mixed martial arts, and other contact sports. Like teeth grinding, the extreme pressure from these physical activities can shorten the lifespan of your veneers.
Specifically, a dentist-made mouth guard is recommended for additional veneer protection. These can prevent exposing them or even your natural teeth from possible accidental blows while playing any sport, especially if you’re an athlete.
Beware of Stains
While most dental veneers are stain-resistant, the adhesive used to keep them attached isn’t resistant to stains. This likely causes the edges of your veneers to become yellowed or darkened.
Limit foods and beverages that may cause discolouration on natural teeth and composite veneers to decrease the chances of staining your veneers. These include berries, red wines, coffees, teas, dark sodas, and soy sauce.
Since they may stain both your veneers and actual teeth, avoid consuming them on a daily basis. Using a straw when drinking these beverages may also help. Try rinsing your mouth when consuming them afterward as well.
Another source of stains is smoking. Consider quitting it to help keep your new veneers in the best condition. In this way, you’re taking care of your dental condition and improving your overall health. If quitting is tough, healthcare providers can help you decrease smoking.
Routine dental checkups for better dental health should go without saying. It’s advised to see your dentist at least every six months to protect your teeth and veneers. This ensures that potential problems can be identified and addressed immediately before they become major issues. Ultimately, doing so enables your dentist to polish and preserve the pearly-white gleam of your veneers.