Although my dentist told me that porcelain veneers could last about 20 years, I had a veneer break within two years. My dentist had a lab replace it, but the color is too light. The veneer is for my left incisor, so the color difference is noticeable. My dentist sent the crown back to the lab, and the tech baked a glaze onto it to make it darker. My dentist removed some of the glaze to get the shade right. But when I left the dental office and looked at my tooth in natural light, I can see that the tooth is still too dark, and the veneer is not as glossy as the others. I am not confident with all the changes to this replacement veneer that it will last any longer than the original one.
I have two questions: How long are porcelain veneers supposed to last? And if one breaks, can I expect challenges with getting the color to match the other veneers? Thank you, Gabriel from Reno, NV
We hope you are receiving treatment from an expert cosmetic dentist, but your description creates concerns about your dentist’s experience. It is challenging to replace one veneer, manipulate the color, and achieve an exact match. A dentist needs advanced training and artistic ability to replace a veneer seamlessly. We will answer your question about how long veneers last and address the issues with your broken veneer.
How Long Do Porcelain Veneers Last?
Porcelain veneers can last up to 20 years. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, porcelain veneers’ average lifespan is about 12 years. But the long-term success of veneers depends on several factors, including:
- Quality of the veneers
- Skill of your dentist and ceramist
- Your dentist’s tooth preparation and bonding techniques
- How well you take care of your veneers and your oral health
If you want long-lasting veneers, it is essential to find a dentist with advanced cosmetic dentistry training who uses a lab and ceramist that focus on quality and high aesthetics.
When Porcelain Veneer Color Does Not Match
When porcelain veneer color does not match, the issue is often color metamerism—color changes in different lighting. Expert cosmetic dentists are aware of the issue and will check color shade in natural light near a window or use color-correct fluorescent light to ensure a match.
Although your dentist can brighten your veneer by polishing away more of the tint, if he is not careful to check the shade in different lighting, you still may not have a match.
A Few Thoughts About Your Dentist’s Technique
Your dentist’s technique is to remove some of the tint from the outer veneer until he achieves a color match. But most expert cosmetic dentists work with their ceramist using photographs and color descriptions to achieve a closer match. If additional adjustments are required, the dentist manipulates tints beneath the veneer instead of polishing away tints above it. It seems that your dentist is not familiar with the tinting process or does not stock tints to manipulate them beneath veneers.
When a Porcelain Veneer Is Not Glossy
If a replacement porcelain veneer is not as glossy as the others, a cosmetic dentist uses specific diamond polishing wheels and polishing pastes. Advanced cosmetic dentists extensively use these tools and understand techniques to return the glaze to the porcelain.
Sometimes, porcelain veneers are too shiny. But a skilled cosmetic dentist can correct that, too. For details, read our post: My porcelain veneers are too shiny. Is it too late?
Consider a Second Opinion
We suggest that you find an experienced cosmetic dentist—preferably accredited—to examine your veneer and explain his or her approach to achieving a color match. If you decide to switch to an expert cosmetic dentist, you will get a perfect color match with your replacement veneers.
Accredited Fellow of cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Brian LeSage of the Beverly Hills Institute for Dental Esthetics, sponsors this post. Dr. LeSage is an international lecturer and trainer of cosmetic dentistry. Check out Dr. LeSage’s smile gallery.