One thing that keeps many people from going ahead with a smile restoration using porcelain veneers is the fear that they won’t last very long. This is because people hear the word, “porcelain,” which for many years has been used metaphorically to describe things that are fragile. But porcelain veneers are actually made of an advanced ceramic that is not only beautiful, it’s very durable as well. We;ll talk about the research showing how long these veneers last, which generally reflects our personal experience. We’ll also compare the longevity of porcelain veneers with composite veneers. Plus, we’ll talk a little about how long veneers last on the front teeth vs. side teeth.
There are many factors that will affect how long your porcelain veneers will last. The Savannah cosmetic dentists at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry can go through these factors and help you understand what you can expect from your personal veneers.
What Porcelain Means
Porcelain comes from the name of the original ceramic of this type made first by the Chinese but introduced to Europe by the Italians. It comes from the Latin for cowrie shells, porcella, because the material had the same lustrous transparency and fine white color as the shell.
Since the first porcelain, numerous ceramics have been developed that all have the same lustrous character but aren’t all made of the same material. Some of them are fragile, but many of them are very strong.
So when we refer to “porcelain” veneers, we’re saying that they’re white and translucent like tooth enamel, not that they’re made of a certain kind of ceramic.
The Performance of Porcelain Veneers
Studies have shown that modern porcelain veneers will last for a decade or more in your mouth. Here is a summary of several studies testing the survival rate of porcelain veneers:
- Fradeani, M (1998) 6-year follow-up, 98.8% survival rate
- D’Arcangelo, C (2011) 7-year follow-up, 97.5% survival rate
- Dumfahrt H and Schäffer, H (2000) 10 year follow-up, 91 % survival rate
- Beier, US, et al. (2012) 94.4% survival at 5 years, 93.5% at 10 years, and 82.9% survival at 20 years (estimated from an average follow-up of 11 years)
These studies all show similar results. In a 2021 review of 25 studies on the longevity of porcelain veneers, researchers concluded that 95.5% of porcelain veneers last 10 years or more.
This reflects the experience of our Savannah cosmetic dentists. Almost all of our patients enjoy 10 years or more of beautiful smiles thanks to their veneers, and some have attractive veneers in place more than 20 years later.
How Long Do Composite and Resin Veneers Last
Composite and resin veneers are alternatives to porcelain veneers. Resin veneers are plastic, while composite veneers are typically resin with ceramic inclusions to add strength. These veneers offer the benefits of being quicker and easier to apply, as well as being significantly less expensive.
However, they have a much shorter lifespan. We have much fewer studies about the longevity of composite resin veneers. There are enough, though, to show how much shorter the lifespan is for composite veneers. Here is a summary of several studies on the longevity of composite veneers:
- Peumans, et al. (1997) 5-year follow-up, 89% survival rate
- Meijering et al. (1998) 2.5 year follow-up, 90% / 74% survival rate
- Wolff, et al. (2010) 5-year follow-up, 79% survival rate
- Gresnigt, et al. (2012) 3.4-year follow-up, 87% survival rate
In the Meijering study, researchers reported two different survival rates for direct and indirect veneers. Direct veneers are applied to the teeth as a soft putty, shaped, then hardened in place. Indirect veneers are crafted at a lab, then bonded to the teeth, similar to the method used for porcelain veneers. Indirect veneers had a higher survival rate.
We don’t have a good cumulative review of studies on composite veneers, so we can’t provide the same level of analysis on what these studies mean. However, it’s clear that none of these studies show even a 90% survival rate at five years.
Although some people will tell you that composite veneers will last five to seven years, this research and the experience of our Savannah cosmetic dentists suggest that it is more reasonable to expect three to five years.
How Long Do Veneers Last on Front Teeth?
Many people are curious about how long veneers last on front teeth vs. back teeth. This is a hard question to answer because most veneers are placed on the front teeth. This is so common, in fact, that sometimes dentists describe them as “anterior” restorations–restorations on the front of teeth in the front of the mouth. Restorations on the sides of teeth would be described as posterior, lateral, or buccal (close to the cheek).
A few studies track the position of veneers. In a 2022 study, cosmetic dentists placed 87% of veneers on the 12 central teeth (top six and bottom six), with the remainder on posterior teeth. Researchers didn’t perform an analysis of failure rates on anterior or posterior teeth.
In another short-term study of more than 1000 veneers, only about 60% were placed on anterior teeth. In this study, the only veneer failure (a debonded veneer that was rebonded) occurred on a posterior tooth. However, the difference between the survival rates (100% vs. 99.4%) did not merit discussion.
This is similar to the observations of our Savannah cosmetic dentists. The posterior teeth might have more bite forces, which can be harder on veneers, but the front teeth interact with more potential hazards (silverware, cups, trauma), so it balances out.
If you treat your veneers properly, including wearing mouth guards, you will get long results on veneers in both the front and back teeth.
Maximizing the Life of Your Porcelain Veneers
Studies show not only that overall porcelain veneers are highly durable but also that some circumstances tend to lead to porcelain veneer failure, including:
- Bruxism (teeth grinding)
- Placement on a non-vital tooth (one with a dead root)
- Bonding to dentin (the layer of the tooth below the enamel)
To ensure you get the maximum life out of your porcelain veneers, work with a neuromuscular dentist who can evaluate your bite to determine whether you are likely to damage veneers.
At Beyond Exceptional Dentistry in Savannah, Georgia, we place porcelain veneers using the most advanced techniques available, which includes ensuring you are a good candidate and will receive long-lasting results.
Please contact Beyond Exceptional Dentistry today to schedule an appointment at our office in Savannah’s Victorian District.