What to Do With Chipped Porcelain Veneers

Whether it is possible to repair chipped porcelain veneers depends on how severe the fracture or the chip is on these veneers. When your veneer has chipped, you definitely need to see your dentist.

How Large is the Chip?

If the chip is very small, then the repair is possible by bonding composite material to fill in the gap in your veneer. Whether the replacement will last or not, depends a lot on the skill of your dentist. The filling should not be noticeable if done by a good dentist.

If the chip is extremely large, your dentist will probably advise you to either get a new veneer or a dental crown altogether. Of course, it is still possible to bond composite material to fill in the gap, but it will not last for long given how large the area that needs to be covered is, as, after all, composite material is weaker than porcelain. The composite filling, in this case, may be used as a temporary solution – just to cover your teeth for long enough until you have decided to replace them with real veneers.

(If you have several veneers, however, your dentist may face the challenge of making your new veneer match the color of your old ones. That again emphasizes the importance of finding a good cosmetic dentist.)

Do also note that the cost of veneers will be the same as when you got them the first time.

Why do Chips Occur?

Porcelain is usually a very sturdy material. However, that doesn’t mean that your veneer won’t chip or fracture if it is hit with strong enough force.

Also, if you’re wearing veneers, you should avoid eating apples and similar types of food that require your teeth to exert a strong physical force (also, avoid opening bottles with your veneers and similar silly acts).

Patients who suffer from bruxism or those who are involved in contact sports need to wear special protective mouthguards if they don’t want to damage their veneers.

How much will the Repair Cost?

Colored tooth filling will cost $150 or so. You may also have to pay for temporary veneers if they are used. Also, your dental insurance can cover the cost of veneers repair. Yes, they don’t cover porcelain veneers and cosmetic dentistry costs, but they do cover repairs and replacements of defective dental works (a kind of a loophole).

Your dentist may agree to repair your veneer free of charge.

Will my Dentist Get Mad?

Now, if you accidentally damaged your veneers your dentist will not get mad. The occurrences of chipped porcelain veneers and dental veneers problems are not that rare, after all.

You may, however, find it difficult to repair your veneer if the chip of the veneer occurred during the days when your dentist is not available – for example, during a weekend. If you must repair your veneer immediately, know that there are always other dental offices that will accept you. Call all the dental offices in your area, and you will most likely find one that will agree to fix your veneers.

How Do Veneers Work?

So, how do veneers work and what are the exact steps involved in the procedure of creating and bonding them? You’ve probably seen the veneers before and after pictures in various advertisements – the results that you see in these pictures are surely very attractive, but you may want to know what the actual procedure looks like, too.

Before that, let’s see what a veneer is. The first thing that came to our mind was to use a dictionary, and here is the first definition of the word “veneer” : a thin surface layer, as of finely grained wood, glued to a base of inferior material – pretty closely describes what a dental veneer is, actually, except that a dental veneer is a thin layer of dental material bonded to the teeth, the aesthetics of which you want to improve.

Veneers can be used to make your stained yellow teeth appear more white – they are quite effective at that, too. They are also used to fix teeth that are a little bit out of their position, just like what braces are used for, except that veneers are not really straightening teeth but more like “covering” them to make them appear straight – for that reason, certain skeletal defects or heavier defects of your teeth position should still be addressed by orthodontic procedures. Shortly speaking, the most common types of teeth problems that veneers fix are – crooked teeth, chipped teeth, tetracycline stains or discoloration of the teeth, unwanted space between the teeth, and several others.

Again, veneers are thin layers made of either porcelain or composite (see our composite veneers vs porcelain veneers article), bonded to the teeth using either indirect tooth bonding technique, in the case of porcelain veneers, or direct tooth bonding technique, in the case of composite veneers. We would highly encourage patients to pick porcelain veneers, if they can afford them, for a  very simple reason – they are just better than composite veneers. The process of making and bonding porcelain veneers onto the teeth roughly consists of the following steps:

  1. You arrive at a dental office, and a cosmetic dentist (we don’t recommend getting veneers done by a family or a general dentist) examines the state of your teeth, listens to and notes your dental needs, tells you what you should expect from dental veneers and if they are really the best choice for you.
  2. The tooth preparation stage is the next stage. During it, you will get numbed with an anesthetic, and your teeth will get shaved a little bit so that veneers can be attached to their surface. Approximately 0.5 mm is a good estimate of the thickness of enamel that will be removed, but it varies from case to case (and from one cosmetic dentist to another).
  3. The next step is to take an impression mold of your teeth. As it has been said, to apply porcelain veneers, the indirect bonding technique, where the veneers are not made by dentists (unlike when they make composite veneers), but by dental labs, is used. The dentist only sends the impression mold to a dental lab.
  4. The time needed for the dental lab to complete your veneers is approximately 1-2 weeks. There is a common practice of applying temporary veneers to cover your vulnerable exposed teeth during that period.
  5. When the veneers are completed and arrive at your dentist’s office, you will have a chance to try them on, and your cosmetic dentist will trim and reshape them, if necessary. Then, the cosmetic dentist will prepare the veneers for the bonding stage and glue them to your teeth using special dental cement. Lastly, the bonding is activated by special curing light to make the grip permanent. If the veneers are badly done, the cosmetic dentist should remake them, and this extra service should be included in the original cost of veneers, of course.

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