Porcelain veneers offer superior coverage for cosmetic imperfections such as chips, gaps, and discoloration. However, like any other dental procedure, porcelain veneers risks should be carefully weighed. While these restorations are extremely lifelike, they cannot replace the function and strength of a natural tooth. Your dentist will typically need to remove some enamel, making veneers an irreversible procedure with a lifetime commitment. Although they rarely occur, risks include increased dental sensitivity, an imbalanced bite, unnatural-looking appearance, and breakage. Most issues can easily be corrected with a follow-up visit to your dentist.
Increased Dental Sensitivity
In order to place traditional and most minimal-prep veneers, dentists must remove a layer of enamel. This protective outer layer is the hardest substance in the body. Once any portion of enamel is removed, the internal structures of your teeth will be more exposed. Although your dentist will work carefully and precisely to remove a conservative amount of enamel, there is also a small risk of your dentin being damaged during the process. This may increase sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, a fairly common side effect which should fade over time.
If you are still experiencing sensitivity three to six months following the procedure, you should consult with your dentist. Prolonged sensitivity can be an indication that the veneers were placed incorrectly or nerve damage occurred during treatment.
Prior to placing your veneers, your dentist will conduct several thorough assessments to ensure they fit correctly and do not negatively affect your bite. However, lack of training or low-quality materials can contribute to an unsatisfactory result. Poorly fitting veneers can impact the balance of your bite, leading to an increased risk of breakage, discomfort while eating, and stress on the jaw joints.
Veneers which do not fit properly can lead to an imbalanced bite and unnatural-looking results. Choosing an experienced cosmetic dentist can further minimize your already low risk of complications.
Chipping and Breakage
Using porcelain allows ceramists to create incredibly lifelike restorations that closely mirror the color and translucency of your surrounding teeth. However, veneers may not be a good option if you clench and grind your teeth, as the pressure can cause them to become cracked, worn, or come off. Certain habits such as nail biting, chewing pen caps, and habitually eating ice can also cause your veneers to break prematurely and result in the need for expensive retreatment.
Changes in Color
Although veneers are stain-resistant, the cement that bonds them to your teeth is not. Over time, this material can change colors and make your smile look gray or discolored. Discoloration can be corrected by applying new cement once your veneers are replaced.
Risks During Replacement
Although advancements in technology and materials have lengthened the lifetime of porcelain veneers to approximately ten years or more, they will eventually need to be replaced. When replacing your veneers, your dentist will need to remove an additional layer of enamel. If you do not have enough healthy enamel left to support veneers, you may need to consider alternative treatment options such as dental bonding or porcelain crowns.
Minimizing the Risks of Veneers
Choosing an experienced cosmetic dentist to design and place your veneers can significantly lower your risk of complications. Once you have undergone treatment, practicing good oral hygiene and scheduling biannual exams can ensure your veneers continue to have a healthy, stable foundation.