Why would I need to replace my porcelain veneers with crowns?

I’m going on over twenty years of having the same set of porcelain veneers. I’ve really had a good experience for the most part even though a couple have fallen off here and there over the years. Whenever that happened, I would just go back to my dentist and he would re-cement them. At my last appointment, he really threw me off guard. I always knew that someday I would need to replace the veneers, but all of the sudden he is worried about decay and says I should get them replaced sooner rather than later. But here’s the kicker… he says I need to do crowns instead of veneers because there’s not enough tooth structure left. Is this true? Couldn’t a new set just be made to fit my teeth as they are now – without any new reshaping? — Louis

Considering most porcelain veneers last on average ten to fifteen years, I’d say you’ve had a very good experience. Cosmetic reasons to replace the veneers would be if they are cracked, chipped or stained, but if you’ve had some gum recession, proper cleaning of those areas can be difficult and could result in decay or cavities forming at the gum line. That is likely the reason your dentist is being proactive and suggesting you think about replacement.

The processes for veneers have changed quite a bit in the last twenty years. Back then, dentists were required to remove quite a bit more tooth structure during preparation. So he probably isn’t exaggerating when he says he doesn’t have much to work with. The good news is that today’s technologies have evolved and there are things that can be done to avoid having to get crowns. However, you’ll need a comprehensive exam and x-rays to determine if porcelain veneers are possible. It also depends a lot on the expertise of your dentist, so find a well-respected and skilled cosmetic dentist in your area and schedule a consultation for a second opinion.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Alana Macalik. For more information on the services she provides, visit her Arlington cosmetic dentist website.