Dear Dr. Hall,
I just got 8 top veneers placed on. As I was leaving the office, I was told they may come off every couple of months. I know I can’t eat apples or crunchy things with them but are they going to fall off that often??
If they do come off, I will tell you what to do. Go back to their office and demand a refund or you will call a lawyer, because if they do, they weren’t done right. Take a copy of this email with you and show them – I’ll stand behind that statement 100%.
There is a principle in the dental profession called “the standard of care.” Now, unfortunately, since cosmetic dentistry isn’t a recognized specialty, the standard of care for cosmetic dentistry is pretty low. Your new veneers don’t have to be beautiful. They may even look dingy and still meet the standard of care. But they do have to stay on. That much is pretty basic. So if your veneers begin falling off within the first couple of years, that is a breach of the standard of care, and the dentist is legally liable for that. It’s hard to put a number on it, because they should never just fall off. But if I had to use a number, I would say they should last ten years, at least.
And about your dietary restrictions. I placed many veneers over a period of maybe 15 years, and I never told my patients not to eat apples or crunchy foods. I told them to eat whatever they wanted, except for pins and bottle caps and stuff like that.
In fact, I will go this far. I would encourage you to test the veneers by eating some apples. If these veneers aren’t going to stay on, it is better if you find out now rather than later. Put them through a stress test and see if they’re bonded properly. A properly bonded porcelain veneer will not come off. I had a couple of cases where I had to re-do some porcelain veneers, and you have to grind them off, just as if they were part of the enamel, they are bonded so tightly.
There are only a couple of legitimate restrictions to your activities after you have a set of porcelain veneers, and I list those on this website on a page dedicated to the postoperative care of porcelain veneers. That is to avoid biting metal objects, and to wear a mouth protector when playing contact sports. But even those activities would potentially cause the veneers to chip or crack, not to come off.
If someone tends to grind their teeth at night, I also would wear a nightguard over the teeth to protect the veneers from chipping or breaking.
But apples and crunchy foods? You should be fine with those. Go enjoy yourself, that’s what I would say.
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does advanced internet marketing for dentists.
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