Porcelain veneers are a popular way of enhancing the look of your teeth. With advancements in the formulation of the ceramic porcelain, today's veneers are very thin, allowing dentists to apply them after only minimal abrasion of the original teeth. This allows the veneers to be replaced as they age; the expected lifespan for porcelain veneers is 5-10 years.
Of course, it's good to keep your veneers for as long as you can. Replacing veneers costs money, and in the time between a veneer cracking and being replaced, you may be very self-conscious about your smile. In addition, the fewer times you need your veneers replaced, the fewer times your dentist will have to abrade your teeth, helping to preserve as much of their original strength and structure as possible.
So how can you keep your veneers in good shape so that they'll last as long as possible?
Don't Use Your Teeth As Tools
Porcelain veneers are very strong; there is no special maintenance that needs to be done when you have them, and your diet is not restricted. However, if you're the sort of person who chews on objects (like pencils or your fingernails) or who likes to use their teeth to open bags or crack nuts, these are habits that you should break. They can put an unnatural amount of stress on your veneers, potentially causing fractures.
If you suffer from bruxism, or tooth grinding, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't get dental veneers. But if you do, it's important that you also work to manage your bruxism. Grinding your teeth can put a lot of strain on dental work like veneers, bridges, and crowns. If you aren't having success stopping your grinding, talk to your dentist about getting a protective bite guard. Most people with bruxism do a great deal of their grinding involuntarily while they sleep; a flexible mouth guard (which can be custom-fitted to your mouth) is a comfortable way to protect your teeth during the night.
Wear A Mouthguard For Sports
People with bruxism aren't the only ones who can benefit from a mouthguard. Sports mouthguards, however, are quite different from the soft plastic bite guards that prevent nighttime grinding. A sturdy athletic mouthguard protects teeth from trauma; it's a must for contact sports, but don't discount it for other activities. If you fall while skiing, are hit by a ball playing soccer, or have an accident while skateboarding, you might be very glad you wore a mouthguard to protect your teeth and veneers.