I have 6 porcelain veneeers on my upper teeth that are about 13 years old. So far, I have replaced 2 of them due to cracking. Recently I noticed a tiny vertical crack in one of the front ones and I immediately went to the dentist who had put them on. He said that as long as I didn’t mind how it looked (it was very tiny) the veneer probably would not crack further or fall off. About a week or so later, I noticed a small horizontal crack on the other front one, about half way up the tooth and about a quarter of the way across (again very tiny). I am extremely nervous about the veneers cracking further or falling off at an inopportune time.
What is your recommendation? Do you think I can get some more time out of these, or should I replace them now? From what I understand getting them off the teeth is a difficult process. Is there a way to repair these without replacing them?
Diane from Pennsylvania
I’m not sure how to evaluate these cracks that you’re seeing, not knowing how tiny is tiny. Porcelain can develop small cracks and can still last for quite a while. And if the bond is good that is holding the porcelain to the tooth, that is what gives a porcelain veneer its strength. The porcelain itself is rather brittle, but it’s the strength of the bond to the tooth that keeps it together.
These cracks could have been there for quite a while and you just noticed them. If you want to inspect the teeth carefully, get a small flashlight and shine the beam across the porcelain veneer, so that the light travels through the length of the veneer. In other words, hold the flashlight on the incisal edge of the tooth and point it toward the gums. This will tend to clearly show any cracks or craze lines present in the veneers. Then you can monitor them over time.
My guess would be that the porcelain veneers are fine and will yet last for a long time. But I qualify that because I can’t see them.
The process for replacing them, however, is not difficult at all, if done by an expert cosmetic dentist.
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