Porcelain veneers are long-lasting, but they’re not eternal. Sooner or later, one is likely to chip or break off from your tooth. Here’s how to handle the situation.
Treat the Veneer with Care
Take any pieces carefully out of your mouth. If the porcelain veneer has broken, it’s likely that the only option will be to replace it. Examine the piece or pieces. If it’s rounded and symmetrical, it may have just debonded and can be placed back on your tooth. Unfortunately, this type of failure is relatively rare. If there is more than one piece, or if the piece is jagged, sharp, or uneven, it’s likely that the veneer broke.
Don’t forget to look at the tooth where the veneer came from. Even if the veneer seems to be intact, you may see small pieces of the veneer still attached to your teeth.
The edges of the broken veneer may be sharp. If they irritate your cheeks or tongue, pick up some dental wax at the drugstore–this is usually used by people with braces to coat sharp wires and brackets, but it works just as well for coating sharp edges while you’re waiting for a dental appointment.
Contact Your Dentist
If you are still in the neighborhood of the dentist that placed your veneers, and you’re happy with their work, contact them and let them know you have a problem. They should work to get you in quickly to get a replacement, but you may have to wait a few days.
It’s perfectly safe to have your tooth uncovered for a short period of time like this. If you have a special reason why you need to get your veneer replaced sooner, make sure your dentist knows about your circumstances.
It’s possible your tooth may be sensitive with the veneer gone. Often, dental wax will help here, too. Coat the area where the veneer came from.
Consider Your Options
When you get into your dentist’s chair, you will have to make a decision about how to handle the lost veneer.
Rebond: If your porcelain veneer came loose as a single whole, you can have it placed back onto your teeth. This is quick and easy in most cases.
Repair: Sometimes it’s possible to repair a broken veneer, the same way you might perform a quick repair on a chipped tooth. Using dental bonding, the tooth might be made to look good. This isn’t normally a long-lasting option, but it can work in the short-term. Other times, it may be possible to buff out the damage to the veneer. This is also not a great option, because the surface of the veneer is often treated to give it the proper luster and stain resistance. The interior of the veneer may be more prone to staining and may stand out..
Replace: Most of the time, the best option when you break a veneer is to replace it with a new one. This will give you a long-lasting and attractive result.
If You Keep Breaking Veneers . . .
What should you do if you keep breaking porcelain veneers? It’s possible that your veneers were poorly placed, are made of an inferior material, or are otherwise unsuitable. Maybe it’s time to talk to another dentist to get a second opinion about them and see if redoing them all might be advised.
Another possibility is that you have jaw joint problems. TMJ and bruxism are hard on porcelain veneers. If you keep breaking them, talk to a neuromuscular dentist about finding the cause of the problem.
Other times, you may need to move from porcelain veneers to dental crowns. Your teeth may just not be good for porcelain veneers, or the result you’re looking for might not be achievable with veneers.